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Irish soil and land-use classifications as predictors of badgers and setts



Preventive Veterinary Medicine - Volume 51, Issues 3-4 , 11 October 2001, Pages 137-148


R. F. Hammond, G. McGrath and S. W. Martin from Tuberculosis Investigation Unit, University College Dublin, and Ontario Veterinary College, Canada


This study investigated possible associations between soil types, land use and badger numbers in an area of the Irish Midlands where badger removal had been conducted during 1989–1994. For this purpose, the area was divided into approximately 2500 geo-referenced square grids of 0.5°km per side. For the outcomes (setts per grid, badgers per grid and tuberculous badgers per grid), Poisson models of land use, of soil type, and a combination of these two were developed. Influential grids were removed and the models adjusted for over-dispersion in the badger outcomes. Mineral-based soils, dry and very-dry peat soils supported increased numbers of setts and badgers. High-quality pasture was the major land use (pastures often are found on mineral-based soils) and supported increased numbers of setts, badgers, and tuberculous badgers. "Natural" areas also supported more setts and broad-leaf forested areas were associated with increased tuberculous badger numbers. Discontinuous urban areas tended to decrease sett numbers per grid. Hedgerow length was not an important predictor given the information on soil type and land use.

Spatial correlations existed for badger setts in 1°km grids, for badger numbers in 1.5°km grids, and for tuberculous badgers in 2°km grids. The latter two grids have approximately the same area as the territory size used by a social group of badgers. There were no spatial correlations at the smallest (0.5km) grid size.


Soil; Land use; Badger; Sett; Association; Tuberculosis; Regression

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