Badger Resource Selection in the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia
Keywords:American badger, British Columbia, critical habitat, habitat restoration, resource selection function, Taxidea taxus jeffersonii
Conservation of species at risk requires an understanding of resource-selection patterns and habitat distribution. We used 1,795 radio-telemetry locations from 55 study animals to model resource selection for an endangered population of American badger (Taxidea taxus jeffersonii, eastern population) in the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The badgers were associated with low elevations, shallow slopes, high solar radiation, and low crown closure. They selected higher elevations only on sites with shallow slopes or high solar radiation. Compared to mesic low-elevation forests, badgers selected locations where the climax ecoclass was riparian forest or very open low-elevation forest. In comparison to Douglas-fir stands, badgers selected clearings, moist forest, and open range. They avoided lodgepole pine stands, western larch stands, and wet areas. Relative to the Brunisol soil order, they avoided Podzolic – Luvisolic and Regosolic-Gleysolic orders. Compared to Morainal soil parent material, the badgers avoided colluvial, rock, aeolian, and anthropogenic and selected for glaciolacustrine parent material. Results were consistent both with expectations from other provincial studies and with cover types used by Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus), which are their main prey. Our model provides a spatially explicit tool to prioritize areas for restoration or critical habitat designation. Reduction of crown closure would benefit badgers, and would probably be the most advantageous on Brunisolic or Chernozemic soils and glaciolacustrine parent material.
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