Forecasting Northern Goshawk Nesting Sites, One Model at a Time

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Environmental layers used in the habitat suitability models (left). Consensus habitat suitability map for the northern goshawk in the Lewis and Clark National Forest (right). Image Credit: Montana Ecological Forecasting Team

Environmental layers used in the habitat suitability models (left). Consensus habitat suitability map for the northern goshawk in the Lewis and Clark National Forest (right). Image Credit: Montana Ecological Forecasting Team

Category: Forecasting Wetland Cover and Species Habitat
Project Team: Montana Ecological Forecasting
Team Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland

Authors:
Erika Higa
Sean McCartney
Amanda Clayton

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Ross Nelson (NASA GSFC)
Dr. John Bolten (NASA GSFC)

Abstract:
The northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is currently identified as both a Sensitive Species and a Management Indicator Species in the Lewis and Clark National Forest (LCNF) land and resource management plans. Goshawks are important top-tier predators in the LCNF and changes in the forest habitat greatly affect their survival and population. This project examined

the potential of using NASA Earth observations to locate and model suitable nesting habitat for the goshawk. Currently, Nate Bickford and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) do not use remote sensing to identify or forecast goshawk nesting habitat, and the tools they use are limited to topographic maps and in situ data. We identified various environmental variables measured by Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR), and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar/Global Microwave Imager (DPR/GMI). These derived variables, along with ancillary vegetation data, were input into several habitat suitability models, using BioMapper, Maxent, and Mahalanobis Typicality, and a consensus map was made to identify areas of suitable habitat for nesting goshawks. Timber management, fire frequency, and mountain pine beetle risk were used as ancillary data to determine the likelihood of available nesting habitat for the future under different climate change scenarios. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE/Russell Model was used in forecasting different climate change scenarios. The results from this project will augment current decision-making practices in forest management in the LCNF and assist in understanding how climate change will affect the goshawk nesting habitat in the future.

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