The development of elk nutrition and habitat use models for management application in western Oregon and Washington.
Scientists from state, federal, private, and tribal entities, led by the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service, developed new elk nutrition and habitat use models for management application in western Oregon and Washington.
The FS Region 6 Data Resource Management staff, in conjunction with the elk modeling team, has streamlined the Westside models using Python script into one, easier-to-use application in both Citrix and desktop ArcGIS platforms. The team is conducting final testing and documentation of the new toolbox, which will be available to FS users who have access to the T drive or downloadable from this website in the near future by any user. If you would like a copy of the model now, please see the Technical Support contact at the bottom of this page in the Product Deliverables section. Updated regional data sets are being finalized for the vegetation inputs needed to run the models. Please check back soon for the new toolbox, the updated user manual, and revised example and regional data sets.
The Starkey Ungulate Ecology of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, working with other agency and private industry biologists, has developed landsacpe models to predict elk (Cervus canadensis) nutrition and habitat use during summer across western Oregon and Washington (Westside). The models provide a foundation for setting future managment direciton and habitat restoration for elk in the Westside region. Model users can not only evaluate current nutritional conditions and predicted use by elk, but also evaluate effects of land management, such as thinning projects or road closures, on elk habitat. The nutrition and habitat use models are combined in a single ArcGIS® toolbox. We have also developed user guidelines and demonstration data to apply the models in an example analysis area. For more background information about the models and their development, please visit the Westside elk modeling page.
This compilation of tools, created in ArcGIS 10.0, allows users to model nutrition and predicted use by elk across any chosen landscape within the Westside region. There are five tools in the toolbox: 3 nutrition tools (one each for the 3 modeling regions), a vegetation update tool (to change baseline vegetation data to reflect changes in features like canopy cover, for example from timber harvest), and the habitat use tool. Each tool also includes metadata and tips to help populate each of the required inputs.
The user guidelines give step-by-step instructions for running each modeling tool. In addition they provide information about (1) the history of the elk nutrition and habitat use models, (2) selecting regional and local analysis areas, (3) incorporating the models in a spatial framework within ArcGIS, (4) preparing input data and caveats for usage, and (5) interpreting and summarizing model outputs. The guidelines describe each of the tools, including the tool parameters and processes required to apply them. The guidelines conclude with detailed examples of data summaries for outputs from both the nutrition and habitat use models.
Two data sets will be available to download, each packaged as compressed files (e.g., zipfiles). The Example Data Set contains all the input layers needed to run the nutrition and habitat use models, along with the modeling toolbox. The data are clipped to a small example study area and allow the user to follow step-by-step through the user guidelines to run the nutrition and habitat use models. The Regional Data Setcontains some of the required input layers (existing vegetation, potential vegetation, Digital Elevation Model for slope, and the model region boundaries) and span the entire Westside region. These layers are edited and ready to use in the models; again, this package will contain the modeling toolbox. The user will need to acquire the remaining data input layers (roads open to the public, study area boundary, and a buffered study area polygon) before running the models.
Purpose: The nutrition model was developed to predict dietary digestible energy (DDE, in kcal/g) for elk during summer (June-August) on Westside landscapes. The habitat use model incorporates nutrition with other covariates to predict relative use by elk in summer. The elk nutrition and habitat use models rely on several key vegetation variables, including potential vegetation type, existing vegetation type, stand height, canopy cover (%), and proportion of hardwoods, in addition to slope.
Spatial Scale: The models were developed for application at 30-m pixel resolution; the appropriate spatial extent for applying the nutrition model is stand-level or larger (but typically at least 100 ha, or ~250 acres). The elk habitat use model is intended for regional application at extents of >10,000 ha (25,000 acres).
Temporal Scale: Predictions are for elk nutritional conditions and habitat use in summer (June-August); outputs are generalized for this period (i.e., the models do not use weekly or monthly time steps), providing a “snapshot” of conditions for this season.
User Interface and Experience: The models are run in ESRI ArcGIS 10.0 or later (Windows PC platform) as a GIS toolbox accessed through the ArcToolbox window in ArcMap or ArcCatalog. The user is expected to have intermediate to advanced GIS skills.
Or, for answers about running the models and summarizing outputs, please contact FS PNW GIS Specialist Jennifer Hafer (email@example.com), 541-962-6527.
Vales, D.J.; Middleton, M.P.; McDaniel, M. 2017. A nutrition-based approach for elk habitat management on intensively managed forestlands. Journal of Forestry. 115. doi:10.5849/jof.16-032.
Cook, J.G.; Cook, R.C.; Davis, R.W.; Irwin, L.L. 2016. Nutritional ecology of elk during summer and autumn in the Pacific Northwest. Wildlife Monographs. 195:1-81.
Cook, R.C.; Cook, J.G.; Vales, D.J. [et al.]. 2013. Regional and seasonal patterns of nutritional condition and reproduction in elk. Wildlife Monographs. 184:1-45.
Cook, J.G.; Johnson, B.K.; Cook, R.C. [et al.]. 2004. Effects of summer-autumn nutrition and parturition date on reproduction and survival of elk. Wildlife Monographs. 155:1-61.