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Abstract

Wildlife habitat management is an important part of natural resource management. As a result, there are a large number of models and tools for wildlife habitat assessment. A consequence of the many assessment tools is inconsistency when comparing results between tools, which may lead to potential confusion management decisions. Our objective was to compare results from two wildlife habitat models – one being relatively coarse (HUC5) scale and not spatially dynamic and the other being finer scale spatial data based on a 30 m spatial resolution –for habitat assessment of three species across the West Cascades of Oregon: Northern spotted owl, pileated woodpecker, and western bluebird. The coarse-scale model predicted more habitat for the two specialist species (owl and bluebird), whereas the fine-scale model predicted more habitat for the generalist (woodpecker). Spatial evaluation of fine-scale models suggested habitat pattern that was not revealed by coarse-scale models. Differences in model assumptions, variables used, and flexibility of variable treatment account for differences in model performance. These findings suggest that cautious interpretation of results is needed given the constraints of each model. Coarse-scale models may help prioritize management treatments across space, but further fine-scale and site-specific analyses enhance information needed for making habitat management decisions.