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Quresh S. Latif, Victoria A. Saab, Jonathan G. Dudley and Jeff P. Hollenbeck Ensemble modeling to predict habitat suitability for a large-scale disturbance specialist Ecology and Evolution 3

Article first published online: 6 OCT 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.790

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To conserve habitat for disturbance specialist species, ecologists must often identify where individuals will likely settle in newly disturbed areas without the benefit of data from those areas. We predicted habitat suitability for nesting Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus), a burned-forest specialist, using ensemble modeling to combine predictions from multiple models and thereby generate predictions robust to uncertainties associated with individual models. Ensemble predictions exhibited two desirable properties: (1) a positive relationship with apparent rates of nest occurrence at calibration locations and (2) declining model agreement outside surveyed environments consistent with our reduced confidence in novel environments.

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