Title

Estimating Elk Home Range - Significance of Estimation Technique for Habitat Management

Presenter Information

Anna Yost

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

The choice of elk home range estimation technique influences how elk habitat is managed in the North Cascades of Washington. In order to best inform wildlife management decisions, it is important to identify the most appropriate home range estimate for a given species and location. If home range size is over or under estimated, then habitat analysis and management will not be strategically focused. A sample of elk GPS location points from the North Cascades are used to create home ranges with GIS tools using the Kernel density estimation (KDE) method. KDE is a common technique for estimating an animal’s home range and is strongly influenced by the choice of smoothing method used in the calculation. KDE home range estimates produced using different smoothing methods are compared to landscape features (landcover, topography, human influence) to help determine which smoothing method is most applicable to defining the home range of North Cascades elk. The home ranges are also compared to a modeled elk habitat suitability coverage to demonstrate how home range estimates can be used to validate an elk habitat suitability model which is used to inform elk habitat management. The data produced using these GIS tools for elk home range analysis and habitat estimation is discussed within the context of elk behavior and management in the North Cascades eco-region.

Poster Number

31

Faculty Mentor(s)

Robert Hickey

Additional Mentoring Department

Resource Management

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May 16th, 2:15 PM May 16th, 4:44 PM

Estimating Elk Home Range - Significance of Estimation Technique for Habitat Management

SURC Ballroom C/D

The choice of elk home range estimation technique influences how elk habitat is managed in the North Cascades of Washington. In order to best inform wildlife management decisions, it is important to identify the most appropriate home range estimate for a given species and location. If home range size is over or under estimated, then habitat analysis and management will not be strategically focused. A sample of elk GPS location points from the North Cascades are used to create home ranges with GIS tools using the Kernel density estimation (KDE) method. KDE is a common technique for estimating an animal’s home range and is strongly influenced by the choice of smoothing method used in the calculation. KDE home range estimates produced using different smoothing methods are compared to landscape features (landcover, topography, human influence) to help determine which smoothing method is most applicable to defining the home range of North Cascades elk. The home ranges are also compared to a modeled elk habitat suitability coverage to demonstrate how home range estimates can be used to validate an elk habitat suitability model which is used to inform elk habitat management. The data produced using these GIS tools for elk home range analysis and habitat estimation is discussed within the context of elk behavior and management in the North Cascades eco-region.