Landsat TM-based Greenness as a Surrogate for Grizzly Bear Habitat Quality in the Central Rockies Ecosystem (2002)


Stevens, Saundi. 2002. Landsat TM-based Greenness as a Surrogate for Grizzly Bear Habitat Quality in the Central Rockies Ecosystem. Canada. Master’s Degree Project, Resources and the Environment Program, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.
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Landsat TM-based Greenness as a Surrogate for Grizzly Bear Habitat Quality in the Central Rockies Ecosystem.
By Saundi Stevens
(a thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the reqirements for the degree of
Master of Science, Resources and the Environment Program, University of Calgary)

ABSTRACT

I analyzed seasonal grizzly bear relocation data from two study areas within the Central Canadian Rocky Mountain Ecosystem (CRE) to determine if grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) habitat use can be predicted using a Landsat TM-based greenness (pseudo-habitat) map. I used a selection of random points to define availability of habitat across the landscape and analyzed the differences in distribution of habitat between the two study regions. I conducted analysis of univariate relationships between predictor variables and occurrence data. I generated a set of candidate models and used multiple logistic regressions to compare habitat variables at telemetry locations with those at random point locations. Candidate models were evaluated with Akaike Information Criteria (AIC) to select the best model for predicting probability of female grizzly bear occurrence. Using regression coefficients from the selected models I developed a validated grizzly bear probability of occurrence model, then categorized probabilities to generate a habitat quality map for the CRE. I overlaid an updated model of adult female grizzly bear security areas with the habitat quality map. I discussed the application of a habitat quality map in security area analysis, and identified the percent of available land base that is secure high habitat quality across 4 major management jurisdictions within the CRE, across individual bear management units (BMU) within National Parks and Kananaskis Country, Alberta and within individual female grizzly bear home ranges. The percentage of land base in secure high quality habitat is small across the CRE; currently no jurisdiction, BMU or female grizzly bear home range meets USDA Forest Service targets for providing habitat security for long term grizzly bear conservation. I identified specific applications of the secure habitat quality model in grizzly bear conservation and management strategies. I also highlighted some limitations to using a pseudo-habitat model based on greenness. The predictive models of habitat quality and security areas in the CRE are necessary tools to assist managers in cross-jurisdictional planning and demarcation of important sites for grizzly bears.

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