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Geographic Information Systems


This chapter provides wildlife managers and the students of wildlife management with an overview of the capabilities of GISs and possible uses of GISs to aid in land management. The chapter presents the principles behind the uses of GISs, but it is not a technical description of how to operate, design, or select GISs. It is hoped that the information provided in this chapter will encourage future wildlife managers to explore the use of GIS technologies for improving their decision-making abilities. Perhaps with this brief exposure to GISs, future wildlife managers not only will be more receptive to using GISs to help improve the decision-making processes directly affecting wildlife management, but also will try to participate in GIS activities for locating powerline corridors, airports, shopping centers, waste disposal sites, and other development activities. One misplaced development, such as those previously listed, can literally reverse all the wildlife habitat enhancements created by a wildlife manager during his or her entire career (Giles 1991).

At least 100 available GISs of various types for a wide array of computers are available from many government agencies, universities, and commercial vendors (Parker 1991). It is hoped that wildlife managers desiring to use GIS technologies will not get bogged down in the bits, bytes, and ". . . primordial ooze of system development or primitive promotions" (Giles 1991:5), but will become excited about the capabilities provided by GISs to gain ".. . explanatory, descriptive, and predictive control ..."(Giles 1991:5) of ecosystems.

GIF -- Figure 17-19
Fig. 17. -- (upper left) Landsat TM data used for estimating current waterfowl production and simulating waterfowl production after various habitat changes were simulated. Fig. 18. -- (upper right) Habitat classes derived from Landsat TM data and used in simulating waterfowl production. Fig. 19. -- Three habitat changes simulated by using editing functions of a GIS. Fig. 19A. -- (upper center) depicts the creation of a large impoundment. Fig. 19B. -- (lower center) depicts the simulated conversion of 50% of the existing cropland to CRP planted cover. Fig. 19C. -- (bottom) shows the location of a simulated predator barrier fence surrounding tall, dense, nesting cover.

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