2010 CASIOPA Workshop: Habitat Suitability Modelling
University of Waterloo & Via WebEx. February 18, 2010.
The report is here: 2010 hsm report
Habitat Suitability Modelling includes a wide-ranging suite of computational spatially implicit or explicit approaches designed for conservation. In this Workshop, participants received an overview of the potential and pitfalls of modelling habitat for conservation purposes. For those who sought a “hands-on” experience, we had an option of being mentored through the process of assessing their own data quality, choosing a modelling technique and communicating results. A background document prepared for Parks Canada was circulated ahead of time to familiarize the participants with the wide range of modelling options. Although much of the “habitat suitability” focus is on species at risk habitat, we took a broader view than that. The workshop was interactive rather than passive where the leaders of the topics during the day acted more as facilitators than lecturers.
After CASIOPA Chair Stephen Murphy welcomed everyone, our discussion and learning was facilitated by a suite of experts.
Simon Dodsworth of NHIC began with a discussion of core heritage methodology and the practical value of an element occurrence in relation to habitat modelling.
Danijela Puric-Mladenovic of OMNR guided us through Vegetation, habitat and species modelling in Southern Ontario.
OMNR’s Brad Steinberg on modelling options, with specific contributions from his colleagues Phil Elkie (Aspects of the Ontario Landscape Tool) and John Boos (interpreting and applying results of moose habitat suitability modelling in Algonquin Park)
Stephen Murphy – University of Waterloo,, Department of Environment and Resource Studies Professor (and CASIOPA Chair) – led an exercise on data quality and compatibility – while data collection is often desirable, habitat modelling is generally tasked with summarizing the current information. Problems in precision, breadth and compatibility were discussed for both species occurrence and land cover information. Participants will workshop strategies for matching the available data to their policy needs.
Stephen Murphy also guided participants through Modelling the Ontario Landscape – the potential for collaboration in habitat modelling in Ontario was discussed. Common datasets (e.g. NHIC, SOLRIS) and common stakeholders suggest that cooperation makes sense. What are the policy obstacles? What are the opportunities in terms of personnel, hardware and software?