Planning for either a single species, multiple species, or ecosystems is greatly dependent on spatial interactions in the landscape. Problems exist for evaluating wildlife habitat changes over large ranges of space and time. This paper illustrates the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to evaluate habitat for a single species, ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), following a time series of forest harvests. A habitat suitability model for ruffed grouse is utilized on a two-township study area in north-central Minnesota to assess the habitat suitability changes over time using an even-aged area-control harvesting plan. The results are presented as a habitat quality change map and a contingency table, representing the movement of habitat class areas between time periods resulting from the proposed harvesting. We developed a neighborhood definition to allow for spatially varying habitat values. This work illustrates the ability to 'look ahead' and 'around' in estimating the impact on wildlife habitat resulting from alternative future management activities.
- habitat suitability index
- ruffed grouse