GenEst User Guide—Software for a Generalized Estimator of Mortaltiy


GenEst (Generalized Estimator) is a software tool for estimating the total number of individuals arriving in an area during a specific time period when their detection probability is unknown but estimable. Its development was motivated by the need to accurately estimate the total number of bird and bat fatalities occurring at wind and solar energy facilities, but it is applicable in a variety of other contexts as well. Simple counts of carcasses are not an accurate measure of the true number of fatalities because some carcasses are inevitably missed in carcass searches. Furthermore, simple carcass counts do not allow comparison among locations or years because carcasses may be detected at different rates. This software uses data collected during carcass searches and estimates of detection rates to accurately estimate the number of fatalities and to provide a measure of precision associated with the estimate. These estimates are fundamental to understanding acute and cumulative effects of renewable energy development on wildlife populations. The software package is available with a user-friendly graphic interface as well as a flexible and powerful command-line implementation. GenEst includes tools for estimating searcher efficiency, carcass persistence, and other detection probability parameters from experimental field trials. Included in the software are example datasets for analyses, standard R package help files, this user guide, and vignettes detailing use at the command-line.