The application of discrete choice models to wildlife resource selection studies

Andrew B. Cooper, Joshua J. Millspaugh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper introduces the theory and application of discrete choice models to resource selection studies. Discrete choice models calculate the probability of an individual selecting a resource as a function of the attributes of that resource and all other available resources. The data for these attributes may be continuous or categorical. When availability is the same for all individuals and only two resources are available, the multinomial logit discrete choice model reduces to the logistic model. Discrete choice models and advances in GIS technology give the researcher flexibility in defining resource availability separately for each individual over time and space. The output of the discrete choice approach also provides managers with a tool to explore the effects of potential management actions and provides researchers with new hypotheses deserving of further investigation. To illustrate the application of discrete choice models to resource selection studies, we present a case study of summer diurnal bed site selection by elk (Cervus elaphus) in Custer State Park, South Dakota, United States. The results demonstrate the importance of factors relating to thermal regulation, hiding cover, and potentially forage, in elk bed site selection in this region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)566-575
    Number of pages10
    JournalEcology
    Volume80
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1999

    Keywords

    • Cervus elaphus
    • Discrete choice models
    • Elk
    • GIS
    • Habitat selection
    • Habitat use
    • Multinomial logit
    • Resource selection
    • Spatial scales
    • Temporal scales

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