I am currently enrolled in a PhD program dealing with wildlife management
and biodiversity conservation issues.
The PhD study takes place in a mountain area in NE of Italy subject to
timber harvest management. The local forestry authority provided a GIS
structured database of forest patches and of wildlife observations
collected in the last 15 years.
The main goal of the thesis is to determine the carrying capacity of the
area for 8 key species (4 mammals and 4 birds).
My request concerns any kind of suggestion for the treatment of the data of
the wildlife database in order to assess their "statistical reliability"
and highlight hidden sources of bias in the data.
Here is short summary of the topic and tasks I'd like to get some suggestions.
Any help will be really appreciated.
Data processing of a 15 year wildlife field observations database (more
than 16.000 samples) in a thoroughly studied mountain environment.
An observation is any sight contact (direct or remote) with an animal
(mainly ungulates) reported by forestry officers.
The database is linked with forestry patches and relative timber management
attributes within a GIS.
Evaluate the sample data accuracy (bias).
Estimate the dependency of observations from the officer's behavior (i.e.
correlation between forestry tracks and observations).
Assess the ecological niche of each species considering vegetational and
abiotic factors (topography, rainfall, snow, etc.) of the patch where an
animal is seen.
Estimate the habitat suitability of non sampled patches.
Verify the existence of annual and/or seasonal trends in the dataset.
Verify the spatial correlation between winter observations and foraging sites.
With best regards,
dr. Massimo Dragan
Laboratory for Geomatics and GIS
c/o CSIA - building H2
University of Trieste
via Valerio 12, 34127
Trieste - Italy
tel. +39 040 676 3304
fax +39 040 676 3316
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