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Marbled Murrelet Nesting Habitat Suitability Model for the British Columbia Coast

Monica Mather, Trudy Chatwin, Jenna Cragg, Linda Sinclair, Douglas Bertram


The Marbled Murrelet is legally listed as a Threatened species in Canada primarily due to loss of nesting habitat. The Marbled Murrelet Nesting Habitat Suitability Model for the British Columbia Coast is a model developed to predict the amount and distribution of Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat. This BC Model is an aggregate of predicted suitable habitat from a widescale algorithm using elevation, distance inland and mapped forest cover attributes of tree height and age that are important for nesting habitat as well as separate regional models in Haida Gwaii and Clayoquot Sound. It will be used to monitor progress towards meeting the Canadian Marbled Murrelet Recovery Team goal of maintaining at least 70% of the suitable nesting habitat that existed in 2002. The BC Model predicted approximately 2 million hectares of potential Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat. Twenty-six percent of the total habitat was in protected areas, which is equivalent to 37% of the habitat required to meet the recovery goal. The amount of nesting habitat predicted from the model algorithm was compared with aerial survey habitat predictions. There was no significant difference between the predictions from the two methods of identifying potential nesting habitat. The BC Model is recommended for broad-scale, strategic accounting of habitat, status assessments, and to aid in recovery and action planning.


Marbled Murrelets; Brachyramphus marmoratus; habitat suitability modelling; recovery planning; British Columbia

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