Development of Predictive Models
for Wetland-Dependent Turtles in New England
ALISON L. WHITLOCK and JOSEPH S. LARSON
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
ABSTRACT: Many turtle species are undergoing serious population declines throughout their ranges from habitat fragmentation and other anthropogenic effects. Government agencies have an increasing need to identify important habitat features for impact assessment, mitigation, and conservation initiatives. There has previously been no methodology to predict potential habitat for wetland-dependent turtles. Based on an extensive literature review, a summary of reported physical characteristics of habitat, and an analysis of the use of these features by turtles, we developed a methodology for use in the northeastern United States. Predictive models were produced for 11 turtle species, nine of which are listed as Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in at least one of the six New England states. Such models will enable regulatory agencies to make decisions based upon sound biological information early in land use planning.