Woodland - Winter 2019 - 18

Seedlings
Continued

ONLINE TOOL HELPS GUIDE WILDLIFE REPOPULATION EFFORTS
BY LAUREN CAHOON ROBERTS, COURTESY OF THE CORNELL CHRONICLE

It's a common sight in the
Northeast: Flocks of wild turkeys
strutting across the road, frustrating
commuters. But this wasn't always
the case.
Less than a century ago, Eastern
wild turkey had been nearly eliminated
from the Northeast, requiring careful
planning by wildlife ecologists to
reestablish them in their natural
habitat. The effort took decades.
Wildlife ecologists often turn to
reintroduction programs to help
sustain key species in certain
habitats. While the wild turkey effort
was a success, other long-term
reintroduction programs struggle to
see their species thrive.
To help address this problem,
a multidisciplinary team with
the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab has
created StaPOPd, an interactive
online tool that tells users exactly how
many plants or animals they need to
introduce into a habitat in order to
establish a stable population.
"The theorems that support
these calculations have long been
known in mathematics," said Brenda
Hanley, a postdoctoral researcher
at the College of Veterinary
Medicine and an expert on population
mathematics. "However, making
these equations readily accessible
to wildlife managers for planning
reintroduction activities is unique."
The impetus for the idea
came when the New York State
Department of Environmental
Conservation asked the wildlife
health lab for help in establishing
populations of the New England
cottontail, a rabbit species that has
declined significantly in the region

18 WOODLAND * Winter 2019

Eighty percent of red-tailed hawks do not survive beyond their first year of life. If wildlife managers
release only juvenile hawks into the wild, most of those carefully reared birds would die before
reproducing. The StaPOPd software can help scientists avoid these kinds of issues.

despite breeding and release
programs.
Experts at the lab knew that
there was a body of mathematical
knowledge in population dynamics
that could be harnessed to solve
the problems they were facing. So
Hanley, wildlife veterinarian
Dr. Beth Bunting and wildlife disease
ecologist Krysten Schuler took up
the challenge.
The team took established
equations and developed an
online interface that allows nonmathematicians to harness
the information for real-world
application. The software asks users
to enter their management end
goals - the number of animals that
they wish to exist in their restoration
area after a certain number of years.
The app then calculates,
factoring in natural population

dynamics, the exact number of
animals in each stage in the life
cycle needed to achieve their goal.
A key input for the StaPOPd
software is the number of life
stages. A life stage represents a
period of time in an animal's life
when its survival or fertility rate is
distinctly different from other stages.
Some species, like rabbits and
squirrels, have just two stages:
juvenile and adult. Other animals,
such as the bald eagle, have three:
hatchling, immature and adult. In
fact, plant and animal species can
be modeled with any number of
stages as long as they appropriately
reflect the biology of their life cycle.
"It is tempting to think of all
individuals as being the same,"
said Hanley. "But in terms of
reintroduction efforts and population
dynamics in general, the same



Woodland - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodland - Winter 2019

OVERSTORY
FORESTS AND FAMILIES
FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Intro
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover1
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover2
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - OVERSTORY
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 5
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FORESTS AND FAMILIES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 7
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 8
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 9
Woodland - Winter 2019 - FOREST INTERACTIONS Seedlings
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 11
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 12
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 13
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 14
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 15
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 16
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 17
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 18
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 19
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 21
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 22
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 23
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 24
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 25
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Giving Back for the Forests of Tomorrow
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 27
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 28
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 29
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 30
Woodland - Winter 2019 - Policies And Partnerships Go Hand In Hand For Strong Forests
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 32
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 33
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 34
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 35
Woodland - Winter 2019 - TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 37
Woodland - Winter 2019 - 38
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover3
Woodland - Winter 2019 - cover4
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