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    Description

    We tested predictions of the spatially explicit ArcHSI habitat model for elk. The distribution of elk relative to proximity of forage and cover differed from that predicted. Elk used areas near primary roads similar to that predicted by the model, but elk were farther from secondary roads. Elk used areas categorized as good (> 0.7), fair (> 0.42 to 0.7), and poor (< 0.42) HSI (habitat suitability index) from the model proportional to the distribution of the landscape during summer, but not winter. Evaluation of the cover component of the model showed elk used areas disproportional to the predicted value as cover. Foraging elk strongly selected areas predicted to have good forage and avoided areas predicted as fair or poor forage; selection for better forage was more pronounced during winter than summer. Forage and cover coefficients assigned to vegetation structural stages were tested and modified. Forage coefficients generally reflected the biomass of herbaceous vegetation available to elk.

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    Citation

    Rumble, Mark A.; Benkobi, Lakhdar; Gamo, R. Scott 2007. A different time and place test of ArcHSI: A spatially explicit habitat model for elk in the Black Hills. Research Paper RMRS-RP-64. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 16 p.

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    Keywords

    ArcHSI, habitat suitability index, habitat model, elk, Black Hills, forage and cover

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