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Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Conservation and Management

  Tall Trees

        Applied Biomathematics has several current and recent projects related to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in conservation and management of species and landscapes. These research projects involve GIS-based habitat modeling, and link landscape data to population viability analyses.

        If you are not familiar with these concepts, you can read short introductory material in the following pages:


Articles on linking GIS to ecological models

Software for linking GIS to ecological models

  • RAMAS GIS is a program designed to link your GIS with an ecologcial model for population viability analysis and extinction risk assessment. RAMAS GIS is used to import and analyze GIS maps, and to build metapopulation models based on the characteristics of the landscape and the habitat requirements of the species living in them.

The following links point to the summaries of our conservation-related studies using GIS.

California Gnatcatcher California Gnatcatcher is a federally threatened subspecies inhabiting the coastal sage scrub community in southern California. The coastal sage scrub is a distinctive plant community that has declined due to extensive agricultural and urban development in this area. Our project involved an analysis of the dynamics of the California Gnatcatcher in central and coastal Orange County, California. For this analysis, we first developed and validated a habitat model for the species, using GIS data. We then used this habitat model as a basis of a metapopulation model, which included demographic data such as fecundity, survival, as well as variability in these demographic rates. 
Helmeted Honeyeater is an endangered species endemic to Victoria, Australia. In our analysis, we used spatial (GIS) data on the habitat requirements of the helmeted honeyeater to define the patch structure. We then combine this patch structure with demographic data to build a metapopulation model, and use the model to analyze the effectiveness of translocations as a conservation strategy for the helmeted honeyeater.  Helmeted Honeyeater 
 Red-cockaded Woodpecker   Red-cockaded Woodpecker is an endangered species that lives in mature pine forests from Florida to Virginia and west to southeast Oklahoma and eastern Texas. From the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker rapidly declined as its mature pine forest habitat was altered for a variety of uses, primarily timber harvest and agriculture. Our analysis involved assessing the effect of a timber harvest plan on the viability of a RCW population in Louisiana. We used GIS maps to estimate a habitat model. Based on this model, and predicted timber harvest plan, we estimated the change in the habitat suitability and other parameters of this RCW population. 
Linking Landscape and Metapopulation ModelsIn this project, we integrated a model that predicts changes in the landscape (such as forest growth, timber harvest, etc.) and a metapopulation model that simulates the dynamics of a species living in this landscape. RCW map 
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Date modified: 3-24-04