Habitat alteration and survival rates of the ornate box turtle
Habitat destruction and modification may be the most prominent anthropogenic forces affecting extant biological systems. Growing evidence suggests that turtles are especially vulnerable to many anthropogenic stressors. We evaluated the effects of habitat modification on survival rates of the threatened ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) in northwest Illinois, USA, using a 20‐year mark‐recapture dataset. Longstanding development (i.e., cottages, outbuildings, landscape management) reduced the apparent survival of the ornate box turtle, especially among females. In contrast, smaller, more recent development (i.e., construction and paving of a bike path) did not have demonstrable negative effects on apparent survival. Our results indicate that the scale of development is important to consider in management and that adverse effects of anthropogenic development may require a considerable time frame to manifest in long‐lived organisms.
This article is published as Mitchell, Sarah M., Brooke L. Bodensteiner, Jeramie T. Strickland, James K. Quick, and Fredric J. Janzen. "Habitat alteration and survival rates of the ornate box turtle." The Journal of Wildlife Management 80, no. 8 (2016): 1503-1508. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.21142.