ESR - Vol. 18, No. 2 - Feature article

Xerospermophilus mohavensis, wind turbines, and predicted habitat suitability ranging from low (blue) to high (red). Image: M. A. Walden

Richard D. Inman, Todd C. Esque, Kenneth E. Nussear, Philip Leitner, Marjorie D. Matocq, Peter J. Weisberg, Tomas E. Dilts, Amy G. Vandergast


Is there room for all of us? Renewable energy and Xerospermophilus mohavensis


Mohave ground squirrels Xerospermophilus mohavensis occupy limited habitats in the Mojave Desert in California, USA where agriculture, urban development, military training, and recreational activities have further reduced habitat. Harvesting wind and solar resources for renewable energy may reduce habitat further. We used maximum entropy modeling to describe potential habitat in the context of future renewable energy development. While 16% of historic habitat is already impacted through post-European settlement, an additional 10% may be affected by renewable energy development in the near future. Models show that X. mohavensis habitat suitability is higher in areas slated for renewable energy development than in surrounding areas. We provide habitat maps to inform development planning, evaluate conservation corridors and improve sampling designs in the future


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