Forest Planning for Sensitive Wildlife Species

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GIS Level:
  • Intermediate
Geographic Scale:
  • State
Target Audience:
  • Career-Workforce
  • Higher Ed

INTRODUCTION In many instances, natural resource managers and planners must consider the presence—and vegetation use by—threatened, endangered, or sensitive species. In this lab, presence of a sensitive (fictitious) species, the brown-winged owl, at a hunting club in northern Michigan imposes additional criteria necessary to develop and implement forest management plans for timber and game species. In this lab, students will assess habitat use by the owls and develop forest management considerations for conserving habitat. Specifically, forest managers would like to know what vegetation types the owls are using for nesting; what percentage of nest locations are found within each cover type; where possible foraging sites are; the average, minimum, and maximum distances of nest sites from foraging sites; and how much forest is unavailable for timber harvesting due to presence of the nests. LOCATION The spatial data is in northern Lower Michigan. Brown-winged owls are fictitious, however. Thus, the coordinates of nesting locations are made up for the purpose of demonstrating geographic information system (GIS) techniques for solving problems related to sensitive wildlife species and forest management planning. The processes used to answer the spatial questions are applicable to any area where timber harvesting or wildlife management occurs. TIME TO COMPLETE THE LAB This activity should take approximately one to three hours depending on technical experience. PREREQUISITES This exercise is intended for introductory- or intermediate-level students with limited background in GIS. DATA USED IN THIS LAB Land_cov: Land cover (vector) Owl_nest_locs: Brown-winged owl locations (fictitious) (comma-delimited file) Land-cover information obtained from the Michigan Geographic Data Library ( Geographic coordinate system: GCS_North_American_1927 Datum: D_North_American_1927 Projection: Hotine_Oblique_Mercator_Azimuthal_Natural_Origin Name: NAD_1927_Michigan_Georef_Meters Projection information for fictitious owl locations Geographic coordinate system: Undefined Datum: WGS84 Projection: Undefined Name: Undefined This is part of the SpatiaLABS collection.

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