This report describes methods for calculating coefficients used to depict habitat productivity for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Calculations based on these coefficients are used in the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Cumulative Effects Model to map the distribution of habitat productivity and account for the impacts of human facilities. The coefficients of habitat productivity incorporate detailed information that was collected over a 20-year period (1977-96) on the foraging behavior of Yellowstone's bears and include records of what bears were feeding on, when and where they fed, the extent of that feeding activity, and relative measures of the quantity consumed. The coefficients also incorporate information, collected primarily from 1986 to 1992, on the nutrient content of foods that were consumed, their digestibility, characteristic bite sizes, and the energy required to extract and handle each food. Coefficients were calculated for different time periods and different habitat types, specific to different parts of the Yellowstone ecosystem. Stratifications included four seasons of bear activity (spring, estrus, early hyperphagia, late hyperphagia), years when ungulate carrion and whitebark pine seed crops were abundant versus not, areas adjacent to (< 100 m) or far away from forest/nonforest edges, and areas inside or outside of ungulate winter ranges. Densities of bear activity in each region, habitat type, and time period were incorporated into calculations, controlling for the effects of proximity to human facilities. The coefficients described in this report and associated estimates of grizzly bear habitat productivity are unique among many efforts to model the conditions of bear habitat because calculations include information on energetics derived from the observed behavior of radio-marked bears.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Coefficients of productivity for Yellowstone's grizzly bear habitat
Biological Science Report
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
National Wetlands Research Center, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center