Mapping and monitoring Mt. Graham Red Squirrel habitat with GIS and thematic mapper imagery

By:  and 
Edited by: H. Reed Sanderson and John L. Koprowski



To estimate the Mt. Graham red squirrel (MGRS) population, personnel visit a proportion of middens each year to determine their occupancy (Snow in this vol.). The method results in very tight confidence intervals (high precision), but the accuracy of the population estimate is dependent upon knowing where all the middens are located. I hypothesized that there might be areas outside the survey boundary that contained Mt. Graham red squirrel middens, but the ruggedness of the Pinaleno Mountains made mountain-wide surveys difficult. Therefore, I started exploring development of a spatially explicit (geographic information system [GIS]-based) habitat model in 1998 that could identify MGRS habitat remotely with satellite imagery and a GIS. A GIS-based model would also allow us to assess changes in MGRS habitat between two time periods because Landsat passes over the same location every 16 days, imaging the earth in 185 km swaths (Aronoff 1989). Specifically, the objectives of this analysis were to (1) develop a pattern recognition model for MGRS habitat, (2) map potential (predicted/modeled) MGRS habitat, (3) identify changes in potential MGRS habitat between 1993 and 2003, and (4) evaluate the current location of the MGRS survey boundary.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Mapping and monitoring Mt. Graham Red Squirrel habitat with GIS and thematic mapper imagery
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher The University of Arizona Press
Publisher location Tuscon, AR
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title The Last Refuge of the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel
First page 170
Last page 184
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Pinaleno Moutnains
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details