fox squirrel, distribution, abundance, habitat, wildlife ecology
Human population growth and development reduce the area and quality of natural communities and lead to a reduction of populations of the species associated with them. Certain species can be useful indicators or "focal species" for determining the quality of ecosystem remnants and the required management practices. Tree squirrels are good models for studies on the effects of fragmentation because they depend on mature forests. The Big Cypress fox squirrel, (Sciurus niger avicennia), a state-listed Threatened subspecies endemic to south Florida, appears sensitive to habitat fragmentation and fire regime. This research aims to assess the conservation status of the Big Cypress fox squirrel. I documented the current distribution of the fox squirrel by obtaining and mapping occurrence records and through interviews with biologists and other field personnel of public land-managing agencies, and private landowners including golf course managers. Transect sampling was used to survey and sample natural areas and private lands to evaluate the distribution, abundance, and habitat use of fox squirrels. Natural areas and suburban areas appear to support Big Cypress fox squirrels, but individuals are widely distributed and only found in low numbers throughout southwest Florida. The distribution of fox squirrel populations depends on land use and understory height, but not the size of trees. Fire suppression has resulted in a dense understory in large portions of parks and preserve lands, which is unsuitable for fox squirrels.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Munim, Danielle, "The Distribution, Abundance, And Habitat Use Of The Big Cypress Fox Squirrel, (sciurus Niger Avicennia)." (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3460.