Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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• Approximately 56,241 ha (138,975 ac) in the Baboquivari Mountains, Arizona.
• Approximately 58,104 ha (143,578 ac) in the Tumacacori, Atascosa, and Pajarito Mountains, Arizona.
• Approximately 138,821 ha (343,033 ac) in the Santa Rita, Patagonia, and Huachuca Mountains and Canelo Hills, Arizona.
• Approximately 42,694 ha (105,498 ac) in the Whetstone Mountains, including connections to the Santa Rita and Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.
• Approximately 40,290 ha (99,559 ac) in the Peloncillo Mountains, Arizona and New Mexico.
• Approximately 3,071 ha (7,590 ac) in the San Luis Mountains, New Mexico.
We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:
(1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as “critical habitat” under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531
(2) Specific information on:
(a) The amount and distribution of jaguar habitat;
(b) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (1972) (or are currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and why;
(c) What period of time surrounding the time of listing (1972) should be used to determine occupancy and why, and whether or not data from 1982 to the present should be used in this determination;
(d) Special management considerations or protection that may be needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing for the potential effects of climate change; and
(e) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why.
(3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
(4) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the jaguar and proposed critical habitat.
(5) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final designation; in particular, any impacts on small entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts.
(6) If lands owned and managed by Fort Huachuca should be considered for exemption because the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan for the Fort currently benefits the jaguar, whether or not the species is specifically addressed.
(7) Whether any specific areas we are proposing for critical habitat designation should be considered for
(8) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and comments.
You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in
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Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on
It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to designation of critical habitat for jaguar in this proposed rule. For more information on the species itself, refer to the
The jaguar (
The life history of the jaguar has been summarized by Seymour (1989, entire) and Brown and López González (2001, entire), among others. Jaguars breed year-round rangewide, but at the southern and northern ends of their range there is evidence for a spring breeding season. Gestation is about 100 days; litters range from one to four cubs (usually two). Cubs remain with their mother for nearly 2 years. Females begin sexual activity at 3 years of age, males at 4. Studies have documented few wild jaguars more than 11 years old, although a wild male jaguar in Arizona was documented to be at least 15 years of age (Johnson
The list of prey taken by jaguars throughout their range includes more than 85 species (Seymour 1989, p. 4). Known prey include, but are not limited to, collared peccaries (javelina (
In 1972, the jaguar was listed as endangered (37 FR 6476; March 30, 1972) in accordance with the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (ESCA), a precursor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531
On July 25, 1979, the Service published a notice (44 FR 43705) stating that, through an oversight in the listing of the jaguar and six other endangered species, the United States populations of these species were not protected by the Act. The notice asserted that it was always the intent of the Service that all populations of these species, including the jaguar, deserved to be listed as endangered, whether they occurred in the United States or in foreign countries. Therefore, the notice stated that the Service intended to take action as quickly as possible to propose the U.S. populations of these species (including the jaguar) for listing.
On July 25, 1980, the Service published a proposed rule (45 FR 49844) to list the jaguar and four of the other species referred to above in the United States. The proposal for listing the jaguar and three other species was withdrawn on September 17, 1982 (47 FR 41145). The notice issued by the Service stated that the Act mandated withdrawal of proposed rules to list species which have not been finalized within 2 years of the proposal.
On August 3, 1992, the Service received a petition from the instructor and students of the American Southwest Sierra Institute and Life Net to list the jaguar as endangered in the United States. The petition was dated July 26, 1992. On April 13, 1993 (58 FR 19216), the Service published a finding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted, and requested public comments and biological data on the status of the jaguar. On July 13, 1994 (59 FR 35674), the Service published a proposed rule to extend endangered status to the jaguar throughout its range.
On April 10, 1995, Congress enacted a moratorium prohibiting work on listing actions (Pub. L. 104-6) and eliminated funding for the Service to conduct final listing activities. The moratorium was lifted on April 26, 1996, by means of a Presidential waiver, at which time limited funding for listing actions was made available through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
The July 22, 1997, clarifying rule included a determination that designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was not prudent (62 FR 39147). At that time, we determined that the greatest threat to the jaguar in the United States was from direct taking of individuals through shooting or other means. As a consequence, we determined that designating critical habitat for the jaguar was “not prudent,” because “publication of detailed critical habitat maps and descriptions in the
In response to a complaint by the Center for Biological Diversity, we agreed to re-evaluate our 1997 prudency determination and make a new determination by July 3, 2006 as to whether designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was prudent. In that subsequent finding (July 12, 2006; 71 FR 39335), we noted that since the time of our July 22, 1997, determination, the Jaguar Conservation Team, Arizona Game and Fish Department, publications, and other sources routinely had given specific and general locations of jaguars that had been sighted in the United States, and, as of 2006, these sightings were being documented through Web sites, public notifications, reports, books, and meeting notes. Publishing critical habitat maps and descriptions, as part of designating critical habitat, would not result in the species being more vulnerable in the United States than it was currently (in 2006). We then assessed whether designation of critical habitat would be beneficial to the species. We found that no areas in the United States met the definition of critical habitat, and, as a result, designation of critical habitat for the jaguar would not be beneficial to the species. As a result, we again determined that designation of critical habitat for the jaguar was not prudent (71 FR 39335). We did not consider designation of lands outside of the United States in this analysis, because, under the Act's implementing regulations, critical habitat cannot be designated in foreign countries (50 CFR 424.12(h)).
The Center for Biological Diversity again challenged the Service's decision that critical habitat was not prudent for the jaguar. On March 30, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Court) issued an opinion in
On January 13, 2010, we published a notice of determination that we had reevaluated our previous “not prudent” finding regarding critical habitat designation for the jaguar and the information supporting our previous findings (75 FR 1741). We also evaluated information and analysis that became available subsequent to the July 12, 2006, finding. We determined there were physical and biological features that can be used by jaguars in the United States. Thus, in responding to the Court's order, and following a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, including the ongoing conservation programs for the jaguar, we determined that the designation of critical habitat for the jaguar would be beneficial. We also determined that designation of critical habitat would not be expected to increase the degree of threat to the species. We solicited comments and information on this determination, and stated we anticipated publishing a proposed critical habitat designation in the
On October 18, 2010, we sent a letter to the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife updating them on our process of developing a recovery plan and critical habitat for the jaguar. We stated that, because of scant information currently available for northern jaguars, we would be convening a bi-national Jaguar Recovery Team to synthesize information on the jaguar, focusing on a unit comprising jaguars in the northern portion of their range. We further stated that we would be working with the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission/International Union for Conservation of Nature to conduct a population viability analysis and a population and habitat viability analysis for the jaguar. We anticipated that these analyses would assist us in determining those recovery actions that would be most effective for achieving a viable jaguar population, as well as providing information relevant to determining critical habitat for the jaguar. Additionally, we stated that, based on the unusual situation where the best information on habitat in the United States essential to the conservation of the jaguar was being gathered through the recovery planning effort, we would postpone publishing a proposed critical habitat rule until spring 2012.
Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
(1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features
(a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
(b) Which may require special management considerations or protection; and
(2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided
Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.
Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the conservation of the species and (2) which may require special management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal wetlands, water quality, tide, and soil type) that are essential to the conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are the elements of physical or biological features that, when laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement to provide for a species' life-history processes, are essential to the conservation of the species.
Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area occupied by a species only when a designation limited to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.
Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in the
When we are determining which areas should be designated as critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the information developed during the listing process for the species. Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species, and (3) the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions occurring in these areas may affect the species. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of this species. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of the best available information at the time of designation will not control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation planning efforts if new information available at the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.
Most of the information regarding jaguar habitat requirements comes from Central and South America; little, if any, is available for the northwestern-most portion of its range, including the United States. Jaguar habitat in Central and South America is quite different from habitat available in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area, where jaguars show a high affinity for lowland wet communities, including swampy savannas or tropical rain forests toward and at middle latitudes. Swank and Teer (1989, p. 14) state that jaguars prefer a warm, tropical climate, usually associated with water, and are rarely found in extensive arid areas. Rabinowitz (1999, p. 97) affirms that the most robust jaguar populations have been associated with tropical climates in areas of low elevation with dense cover and year-round water sources. Brown and López González (2001, p. 43) further state that, in South and Central America, jaguars usually avoid open country like grasslands or desertscrub, instead preferring the closed vegetative
However, jaguars have been documented in arid areas of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States, including thornscrub, desertscrub, lowland desert, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland communities (Brown and López González 2001, pp. 43-50; Boydston and López González 2005, p. 54; McCain and Childs 2008, p. 7; Rosas-Rosas and Bender 2012, p. 88). The more open, dry habitat of the southwestern United States has been characterized as marginal habitat for jaguars in terms of water, cover, and prey densities (Rabinowitz 1999, p. 97). However, McCain and Childs (2008, p. 7) documented two male jaguars (and possibly a third) using an extensive area including habitats of the Sonoran lowland desert, Sonoran desert scrub, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland in mountain ranges in southern Arizona. Therefore, while habitat in the United States can be considered marginal when compared to other areas throughout the species' range, it appears that a few, possibly resident jaguars are able to use the more open, arid habitat found in the southwestern United States.
To define the physical and biological features required for jaguar habitat in the United States, we are relying on studies conducted in Mexico as close to the U.S.-Mexico border as available. Many of these studies have been compiled and summarized by the Jaguar Recovery Team in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, entire) and Digital Mapping in Support of Recovery Planning for the Northern Jaguar report (Sanderson and Fisher 2011, pp. 1-11). These documents describe the entire Northwestern Recovery Unit and Northwestern Management Unit of the jaguar (see
The Jaguar Recovery Team (2012, pp. 15-16) determined that high-quality habitat for jaguars in the Northwestern Recovery Unit and Northwestern Management Unit includes the following features: (1) High abundance of native prey, particularly large prey like deer and peccary and adequate numbers of medium-sized prey; (2) water available within 10 kilometers (km) (6.2 miles (mi)) year round; (3) dense vegetative cover (to stalk and ambush prey and for denning and resting), particularly including Sinaloan thornscrub; (4) rugged topography, including canyons and ridges, and some rocky hills good for denning and resting; (5) connectivity to allow normal demographic processes to occur and maintain genetic diversity; (6) expansive areas of adequate habitat (i.e., area large enough to support 50 to 100 jaguars) with low human density; (7) low human activity, development, and infrastructure, including low densities of high-speed roads, mines, and agriculture; and (8) no to low jaguar persecution or poaching by humans. Therefore, we are basing our definition of jaguar habitat in the United States on these features but with modifications more applicable to areas north of the U.S.-Mexico border (see
The 2012 Recovery Outline for the Jaguar describes two recovery units for the jaguar across its range, the Northwestern and Pan American Recovery Units (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 58). Recovery units are subunits of the listed species' habitat that are geographically or otherwise identifiable and essential to the recovery of the species (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 20).
Recovery units for the jaguar are further divided into core, secondary, and peripheral areas (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 20-23). Core areas have both persistent verified records of jaguar occurrence over time and recent evidence of reproduction. Secondary areas are those that contain jaguar habitat with either or both historical or recent records of jaguar presence with no recent record or very few records of reproduction. In peripheral areas, most historical jaguar records are sporadic, and there is no or minimal evidence of long-term presence or reproduction that might indicate colonization or sustained use of these areas by jaguars.
Potential jaguar habitat in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area is part of the secondary area of the Northwestern Management Unit within the Northwestern Recovery Unit for the jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 58). Because such a small portion of the jaguar's range occurs in the United States, it is anticipated that recovery of the entire species will rely primarily on actions that occur outside of the United States; activities that may adversely or beneficially affect jaguars in the United States are less likely to affect recovery than activities in core areas of their range (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 38). However, the portion of the United States is located within a secondary area that provides a recovery function benefitting the overall recovery unit (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 40, 42). For example, specific areas within this secondary area that provide the physical and biological features essential to jaguar habitat can contribute to the species' persistence and, therefore, overall conservation by providing areas to support some individuals during dispersal movements, by providing small patches of habitat (perhaps in some cases with a few resident jaguars), and as areas for cyclic expansion and contraction of the nearest core area and breeding population in the Northwestern Recovery Unit (about 210 km (130 mi) south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Sonora near the towns of Huasabas, Sahuaripa (Brown and López González 2001, pp. 108-109), and Nacori Chico (Rosas-Rosas and Bender 2012, pp. 88-89)). Independent peer review cited in our July 22, 1997, clarifying rule (62 FR 39147, pp. 39153-39154) states that individuals dispersing into the United States are important because they occupy habitat that serves as a buffer to zones of regular reproduction and are potential colonizers of vacant range, and that, as such, areas supporting them are important to maintaining normal demographics, as well as allowing for possible range expansion. As described in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar, the Northwestern Recovery Unit is essential for the conservation of the species; therefore, consideration of the spatial and biological dynamics that allow this unit to function and that benefit the overall unit is prudent. Providing connectivity from the United States to Mexico is a key element to maintaining those processes.
As mentioned above, the U.S. lands within the secondary area of the Northwestern Recovery Unit are also located within the Northwestern Management Unit. Management units, as described in the Recovery Outline, are areas within a recovery unit that might require different management, be managed by different entities, or encompass different populations (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 40). The U.S. lands located within the Northwestern Management Unit simply acknowledge the existence of different species
Additionally, as thoroughly discussed in the Recovery Outline for the Jaguar (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, pp. 19-20) and Johnson
The degree to which climate change will affect jaguar habitat in the United States is uncertain, but it has the potential to adversely affect the jaguar within the next 50 to 100 years (Jaguar Recovery Team 2012, p. 32). Climate change will be a particular challenge for biodiversity because the interaction of additional stressors associated with climate change and current stressors may push species beyond their ability to survive (Lovejoy 2005, pp. 325-326). The synergistic implications of climate change and habitat fragmentation are the most threatening facet of climate change for biodiversity (Hannah and Lovejoy 2005, p. 4). Current climate change predictions for terrestrial areas in the Northern Hemisphere indicate warmer air temperatures, more intense precipitation events, and increased summer continental drying (Field
The current prognosis for climate change impacts in the American Southwest includes fewer frost days; warmer temperatures; greater water demand by plants, animals, and people; and an increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2074; Archer and Predick 2008, p. 24). How climate change will affect summer precipitation is less certain, because precipitation predictions are based on continental-scale general circulation models that do not yet account for land use and land cover effects or regional phenomena, such as those that control monsoonal rainfall in the Southwest (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2075; Archer and Predick 2008, pp. 23-24). Some models predict dramatic changes in Southwestern vegetation communities as a result of climate change (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2074; Archer and Predick 2008, p. 24), especially as wildfires carried by nonnative plants (e.g., buffelgrass) potentially become more frequent, promoting the presence of exotic species over native ones (Weiss and Overpeck 2005, p. 2075).
The impact of future drought, which may be long-term and severe (Seager
In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing to designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species and which may require special management considerations or protection. These include, but are not limited to:
(1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior;
(2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements;
(3) Cover or shelter;
(4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) of offspring; and
(5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historical, geographic, and ecological distributions of a species.
We derive the specific physical or biological features essential for jaguars from studies of this species' habitat, ecology, and life history as described below. Additional information can be found in the final clarifying rule published in the
Specific home ranges for jaguars depend on the sex, season, and vegetation type. The home ranges of borderland jaguars are presumably as large or larger than the home ranges of tropical jaguars (Brown and López González 2001, p. 60; McCain and Childs 2008, pp. 6-7), as jaguars in this area are at the northern limit of their range and the arid environment contains resources and environmental conditions that are more variable than those in the tropics (Hass 2002, as cited in McCain and Childs 2008, p. 6). Therefore, jaguars require more space in arid areas to obtain essential resources such as food, water, and cover (discussed below).
Only one limited home range study using standard radio-telemetry techniques and two home range studies using camera traps have been conducted for jaguars in northwestern Mexico. Telemetry data from one adult female tracked for 4 months during the dry season in Sonora indicated a home range size of 100 square km (37 square mi) (López González 2011, pers. comm.). Additionally, using camera traps, a male in Sonora was documented using an average home range of 84 square km (32 square mi) (López González 2011, pers. comm.). No home range studies using standard radio-telemetry techniques have been conducted for jaguars in the southwestern United States, although McCain and Childs (2008, p. 5), using camera traps, reported one jaguar in southeastern Arizona as having a minimum observed “range” of 1,359 square km (525 square mi) encompassing two distinct mountain ranges. This study, however, was not designed to determine home range size; therefore, we are relying on minimum home-range estimates for male and female jaguars from Sonora, Mexico (López González 2011, pers. comm.) for the minimum amount of adequate habitat required by jaguars in the United States.
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify expansive open spaces in the United States of at least 84 to 100 square km (32 to 37 square mi) in size with connectivity to Mexico, adequate native prey and available surface water, suitable vegetative cover and rugged topography to provide sites for resting, and minimal human impact as the essential components of the physical or biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.
Jaguars usually catch and kill their prey by stalking or ambush and biting through the nape as do most Felidae (members of the cat family) (Seymour 1989, p. 5). Like other large cats, jaguars rely on a combination of cover, surprise, acceleration, and body weight to capture their prey (Schaller 1972 and Hopcraft
In northeastern Sonora, where the northernmost breeding population of jaguars occurs, Rosas-Rosas (2006, pp. 24-25) found that large prey greater than 10 kilograms (kg) (22 pounds (lbs)) accounted for more than 80 percent of the total biomass consumed. Specifically, cattle accounted for more than half of the total biomass consumed (57 percent), followed by white-tailed deer (23 percent), and collared peccary (5.12 percent). Medium-sized prey (1-10 kg; 2-22 lbs), including lagomorphs (rabbit family) and coatis (
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify areas containing adequate numbers of native prey, including deer, javelina, and medium-sized prey items (such as coatis, skunks, raccoons, or jackrabbits) as an essential component of the physical and biological feature essential for the conservation of the jaguar in the United States.
In the United States, only one modeling study analyzing distance to water as a feature of jaguar habitat has been conducted. Hatten
Using data compiled by Sanderson and Fisher (2011, database) and McCain and Childs (2008, entire, and unpublished data), we collected undisputed Class I reports of jaguar locations in the United States since the time the species was listed (see
According to Brown and López González (2001, p. 46), the most important biotic community for jaguars in the southwestern borderlands (Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua) is Sinaloan thornscrub (as described in Brown 1994, pp. 100-105), with 80 percent of the jaguars killed in the state of Sonora documented in this vegetation biome (Brown and López González 2001, p. 48). This biotic community, however, is absent in the United States (Brown and Lowe 1980, map; Brown and López González 2001, p. 49). Madrean evergreen woodland is also important for borderlands jaguars; nearly 30 percent of jaguars killed in the borderlands region were documented in this biotic community (Brown and López González 2001, p. 45). Brown and López González (2000, p. 538) indicate jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico predominantly use montane environments, probably because of more amiable temperatures and prey availability. A smaller, but still notable, number of jaguars were killed in chaparral and shrub-invaded semidesert grasslands (Brown and López González 2001, p. 48). In Arizona, approximately 15 percent of the jaguars taken within the State between the years 1900 and 2000 were in semidesert grasslands (Brown and López González 2001, p. 49).
The more recent sightings (2001-2007), as described in McCain and Childs (2008, entire), document jaguars in these same biotic communities (note that the Madrean evergreen woodland and semidesert grassland biotic communities encompass the Sonoran lowland desert, Sonoran desert scrub, mesquite grassland, Madrean oak woodland, and pine-oak woodland habitats), and the most recent sighting of a jaguar in Arizona (2011) was in Madrean evergreen woodland, as well (Arizona Game and Fish Department, unpublished data).
Several modeling studies incorporating vegetation characteristics have attempted to refine the general understanding of habitats that have been or might be used by jaguars in the United States. To characterize vegetation biomes, Hatten
In addition, two studies (Menke and Hayes 2003, entire; Robinson
Finally, Sanderson and Fisher (2011, pp. 1-11) created a jaguar habitat model for northwestern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands area using the methodology described in Hatten
Using the same digital vegetation layer as Hatten
Two modeling exercises have been conducted to determine existing jaguar habitat in the southwestern United States, one in Arizona and another in New Mexico. To examine the relationship between jaguars and landscape roughness in Arizona, Hatten
Menke and Hayes (2003, entire) attempted to evaluate potential jaguar habitat in New Mexico using methods similar to those described in Hatten