Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Scott A. Rush

Committee Member

Kristine O. Evans

Committee Member

Carlos Ramirez-Reyes

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Woodpeckers are a group of avian species that cause damage to wooden power utility structures. In the southeastern United States, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), has accrued an estimated $5 million USD annually from woodpecker damage. Previous work has focused on effectiveness of reactive mitigation and restoration efforts with little investigation of preventative methods. To address this knowledge gap, this study will i) use species distribution model techniques to predict damage suitability across the TVA service area, ii) use Bayesian hierarchical community model techniques to estimate species richness of the woodpecker community in the service area, and iii) recommend target areas for increased preventative measures in the service area. The suitability map indicated that damage was most likely to occur in the southwestern portions of the TVA service area. Woodpecker species richness was stable across the environmental covariate values estimated with 2-3 species found throughout the service area.