• Potential muskox habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska: a GIS analysis

      Danks, Fiona Susan (2000-08)
      Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), reestablished in northern Alaska in recent decades, have been increasing in number and distribution. However, their selection of habitat within the landscape, historically and presently, remains inadequately documented. This project produced maps of predicted muskox habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), that provide a basis for management of muskoxen and protection of their habitat in relation to proposed oil, gas and mineral exploration. Vegetation analyses showed compositional differences and interactions between vegetation and terrain. Within a geographical information systems (GIS) database, muskox locations, satellite-based vegetation maps and terrain data for the Kuparuk River drainage basin were assimilated, and a maximum likelihood classification developed to produce a habitat selection model incorporating the interactive effects of these characteristics. Using NPR-A GIS data, the model was extrapolated to produce maps showing suitable summer habitat in lower-lying drainages and wetter areas, and suitable winter habitat in drier, more rugged, exposed areas.