Integrated management of forest wildlife: comments on new ways to research habitat
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1Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University, GPO Box 4. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia 2601.
New methods using habitat modelling coupled to geographic information systems (CIS) for characterizing the habitat of forest fauna are reviewed. On the basis of these approaches, potential avenues for expanding, linking and re-creating wildlife habitats are considered. We suggest that these methods can assist greatly in the research and management of Australian forest fauna and, indeed, wildlife generally. GIS data bases used for research on forest fauna need to contain biological and physical information (e.g., climate, terrain, substrate) about forested landscapes that reflect the dominant processes producing biological patterns. An advantage of this approach is that even quite limited data on the distribution of a species can be used profitably for designing field surveys. Data bases covering the entire forest estate can be stored within a GIS. Therefore predictions on the location of species can be generated, irrespective of land tenure. Without knowledge of the status of faunal habitat on all forested lands, the ability of managers to implement coherent conservation strategies generally will be limited.