Habitat linkages and highway mitigation using spatially-explicit GIS-based models
Jones, Andrew Charles
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SubjectCircuit Theory; Grizzly Bear; highway mitigations; Least-cost Path Anaylsis; Resource Selection Functions; wildlife corridors
I identified suitable locations for highway wildlife crossing mitigations across the TransCanada Highway (TCH) in the area of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park (MRGNP), British Columbia. Highways fragment natural landscapes leading to habitat loss, reduced ecosystem connectivity and direct wildlife mortality though motor vehicle collisions. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) are vulnerable to the effects of habitat and population fragmentation. Highway wildlife crossing mitigations improve ecosystem connectivity by increasing the permeability of transportation corridors to wildlife. I identified high-quality habitat patches using a resource selection function (RSF) based on 1,703 radio telemetry locations from 59 grizzly bears. Least-cost path analysis (LCP) among habitat patches identified 6 linkage zones across the TCH. Electric circuit theory was used to generate current maps that classify linkage zones as high-volume crossing areas or tenuous linkages. Linkage zones occurred where high-quality habitat aligned with physical features conducive to cross-valley wildlife dispersal.
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