ASSESSING RE-COLONIZATION OF MOOSE IN NEW YORK WITH HSI MODELS

Lisa Hickey

Abstract


After nearly a century of decline and range contraction in the northeastern United States, moose (Alces alces) have re-colonized Adirondack Park, New York due to improved habitat and adjacent source populations. In this paper I present the results of 2 Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models used to examine the pattern of moose recovery in Adirondack Park. Sighting data collected in 1980-1999 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation were used to compare moose locations with 3 suitability levels of moose habitat predicted by the HSI models. The 2 models indicated that most of Adirondack Park was a combination of suitable (49-73%) and most suitable habitat (10-35%) for moose; the majority (53-77%) of sightings occurred in suitable habitat. However, the distribution of moose locations derived from sighting data might have been influenced by where human recreational activity occurred because sighting locations were not well correlated with the most suitable habitat. The combined analysis of the sighting locations and the HSI models provided valuable insight into the current and potential occupation and distribution of moose in Adirondack Park.

Keywords


Adirondack Park; Alces alces; habitat suitability index; habitat model; population

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