The conservation of an endangered species is important to maintaining species diversity and preserving ecosystem function. Habitat suitability models are useful tools that characterize species distribution and occurrence. The endangered American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus Olivier, was once widespread across the eastern two thirds of North America. Extensive surveys since the listing of the American burying beetle have contributed to the knowledge of this species. However, much remains to be discovered about its habitat affinities. With the American burying beetle eliminated from a large portion of its historic range, an understanding of its remaining habitat associations will assist in management efforts. We developed a model using American burying beetle survey data collected from 337 sample locations between 2001 and 2011 in eight south-central Nebraska counties. We compared presence and absence of American burying beetles with land-cover information to develop and validate a predictive habitat model for the Loess Canyons region of Nebraska. Using 2011 survey data to test the model, we found significant accuracy in predicted occurrence of the American burying beetle in the Loess Canyons. In addition, we found a significant decline (p < 0.0001) in American burying beetle occurrence with the presence of agriculture. These results demonstrate the successful use of habitat modeling to predict American burying beetle occurrence in the Loess Canyons of Nebraska.
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