Landscape capability predicts upland game bird abundance and occurrence
Landscape capability (LC) models are a spatial tool with potential applications in conservation planning. We used survey data to validate LC models as predictors of occurrence and abundance at broad and fine scales for American woodcock (Scolopax minor) and ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). Landscape capability models were reliable predictors of occurrence but were less indicative of relative abundance at route (11.5–14.6 km) and point scales (0.5–1 km). As predictors of occurrence, LC models had high sensitivity (0.71–0.93) and were accurate (0.71–0.88) and precise (0.88 and 0.92 for woodcock and grouse, respectively). Models did not predict point-scale abundance independent of the ability to predict occurrence of either species. The LC models are useful predictors of patterns of occurrences in the northeastern United States, but they have limited utility as predictors of fine-scale or route-specific abundances. \textcopyright 2017 The Wildlife Society.