GIS in Avian Research and Conservation

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer systems used for storing, analyzing, and displaying spatial data. It allows researchers to visualize and investigate relationships between various geographic features, such as land, elevation, and vegetation cover.

In avian research and conservation GIS is a powerful tool for studying bird distributions, population densities, home range characteristics, and habitat quality. It allows us to map where birds are most active, the limits of their forays throughout the forest, and where they build their nests. It can also help us determine what types of habitat allow the birds to be the most successful we can also map the locations of important habitat traits such as food sources and endangered and rare plants.

We are currently using GIS to map the activities of banded Maui Parrotbill to determine the density of breeding pairs within a portion of Hanawi Natural Area Reserve. The goal is to develop an indicator of their overall density and distribution throughout their remaining range. Our habitat management efforts also incorporate GIS techniques to map fences, areas where we are conducting small mammal control, and habitat threats such as the appearance of new invasive species.

GIS is also helpful in creating colorful and clear visual illustrations of our work for seminars, posters, and public outreach programs. It is a drastic improvement in clarity and accuracy from the hand drawn maps which, prior to GIS were, the norm.

GIS also makes it easier for us to share data with other scientists in order to collaborate on various conservation issues throughout Hawaii.

09/04/2007
Please send your comments or suggestions to MFBRP webmaster poouli@hawaiiantel.net