Using GIS to Create a Gray Wolf Habitat Suitability Model and to Assess Wolf Pack Ranges in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Papers in Resource Analysis, Volume 10, 2008

Cole C. Belongie

“Gray wolves are often difficult for biologists, forest planners, and wildlife managers to study and predict movements and habits. The controversy over wolves in the Midwest is growing with the delisting of the gray wolf from the Threatened and Endangered Species List. Growing populations of wolves have increased sightings and contact between humans and wolves. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a tool that can be utilized by planners and managers to identify wolf habitats and possible areas of human – wolf conflict. This study uses GIS to take information from written literature on wolf habitat and preferences of wolf locations and ranges in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan and compare these to a model of wolf range suitability developed in this study. The model developed by this study utilizes four raster layers (landuse/land cover, road density, population density, and deer population density) classified to create suitability ranges. The model created indicates the presence of abundant suitable habitat in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”