Spatial Modeling of Black Bear Habitat in Vermont

Personnel: Tracy Onega, David Capen

Cooperators: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department

Spatial modeling of habitat at a landscape level is necessary for understanding the patterns and processes that affect large mammal occurrence and population viability. This study uses a geographic information system (GIS) to model spatial variables that describe habitat suitability for black bear in Vermont. A general land cover map for Vermont has been derived from TM imagery and used to quantify several spatial variables. Specifically, core forest area, landscape diversity index, edge index, road density, and index of developed area are measured by combining landscape metrics in focal mean analyses. Overlay analysis will produce a composite map of spatial metrics which will be analyzed for black bear habitat suitability. Habitat potential is expected to be sensitive to the spatial variables chosen. Regression analysis will measure the significance of these variables. This model will describe the influence of spatial landscape characteristics on black bear habitat, as well as provide a basis for further landscape analyses in Vermont.

       Updated: 28 June 2000