Geographic information system (GIS) and landscape-level data offer a new opportunity for modeling and evaluating the quality of wildlife habitats. Models of habitat quality have not been developed for some species, and existing models could be improved by incorporating updated information on wildlife–habitat relationships and habitat variables. We developed a GIS-based habitat suitability index (HSI) model for the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus), which often causes human–wildlife conflicts in the Chungnam Province of Korea because of industrialization and urbanization. The model is based on logistic regression analysis, which addresses the impact of multiple habitat variables, such as habitat components, topographic characteristics, and human disturbances. The model yielded a p-value of.289 (χ2 = 9.672) and 65.4% correct prediction level with the overall observation–prediction comparison data. The model demonstrated that a large portion of the province (61.6%) could be regarded as a poor habitat (mean HSI value of the province = 0.22), while the current habitats of the province could be considered of moderate quality (mean HSI value = 0.31). In addition, the chance of observation of the deer increases as the HSI level increases, which means that the model yields a good predictive power. Lastly, we used the model to produce a habitat suitability map. Our HSI model enabled us to quantify habitat preferences, which could be the basis for decision-making on habitat protection, mitigation, and enhancement of the Korean water deer. The proposed model is also applicable for improving and enhancing the existing management practices, as well as for establishing an effective wildlife protection policy.
- Geographic information system
- habitat suitability index model
- Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus)
- logistic regression analysis
- wildlife management