A habitat suitablity model for the Gopher tortoise
Russell, Heather Renee
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A geographic information system was used to design a habitat suitability model for the Gopher tortoise in Georgia. The Landcover Map of Georgia and SSURGO soil data are used to locate areas that possess the correct combination of landcover and soil type. The STATSGO data are examined to determine the feasibility of using these data in areas that do not currently have SSURGO data available; the data were found unsuitable as predictors of tortoise habitat. Measurements of percent canopy coverage are examined to assess the accuracy of the model without inclusion of this variable. Thirty percent of habitat deemed suitable by the model in a test area was found to have inappropriate canopy coverage. The model predicted 83 % of suitable habitat correctly when an accuracy assessment was performed using Georgia Natural Heritage Data. The results of this model are compared to those produced by the Georgia GAP Analysis Project.