Creating a Panther Habitat Model and Panther Migration Bank Geodatabase
Meeting Place: February 16th, 2012 at 10am
Location: Palm Beach County Vista Center
Presenter: Barry Wood, GIS Specialist – Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
The Florida Panther is the last subspecies of Puma still surviving in the eastern United States, and is restricted to less than 5% of their historic range. The recovery strategy for the Florida panther is to maintain, restore, and expand the panther population and its habitat in southern Florida, expand this population into south-central Florida if enough habitats exist to reintroduce two additional populations, and facilitate the panther recovery with public awareness and education. The two major GIS data sets, created by the Florida Wildlife Commission, that represent the Florida panther and are used for spatial analysis are the panther telemetry data collected since 1981 and the panther death locations dating back to 1974. The US Fish & Wildlife South Florida Ecological Service Office utilizes those data sets to help reach its goals for the Florida panther recovery strategy.
Recently, a predictive distribution map for the resident breeding panthers in southern Florida was produced. Using 10-fold cross validation, the model was 90 percent accurate in predicting presence or absence of panthers in the 17,000 square kilometer study area. On a scale of 0-1, all panther home ranges had an average model-predicted probability between 0.48 and 0.98, with a median probability of 0.87. These models will be useful for evaluating the impacts of future development projects, in prioritizing areas for panther conservation, and evaluating the potential impacts of sea-level rise and changes in hydrology associated with climate change.
Also, a Multiple Database Management System (DBMS) is being developed to be used as a geospatial tool to quantify habitat impacts from development in an action area (usually a 25 mile radius for panthers). The DBMS will facilitate multi-platform collaborative utility based on TAILS, SFESO panther data (spatial and nonspatial), and RIBITS (DA conservation bank data).