Habitat Suitability Modeling

What is habitat suitability modeling?

Habitat suitability modeling (HSM) is a statistical method for predicting the suitability of habitat for a given species. The model identifies the environmental factors that a species selects for, or avoids, based on the availability of those factors across a landscape and outputs an index of suitability based on these factors. Using a geographic information system (GIS), these index values can be mapped and analyzed to portray areas of potential habitat for the species. It is important to note that modeling results do not show the actual occurrence of the species.

    How is the Sagebrush Ecosystem Program using HSM?

    The State of Nevada is working with the U.S. Geological Survey to develop a habitat suitability model for greater sage-grouse in Nevada. The model uses sage-grouse telemetry location data and extensive environmental data (vegetation communities, topographic indices, elevation model, water resources, and human activity factors) as inputs to predict suitability. The habitat suitability model will be used to develop habitat maps, management maps, and support conservation planning decisions. These will be used for management of greater sage-grouse in Nevada at the state and federal level.