Determination of the optimum observation points for brown bear (ursus arctos) inventory using GIS in Savsat, Turkey
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CitationYavuz, M., Vatandaşlar, C., Özyanık, M., & Keleş, G. A. (2017). Determination of the optimum observation points for brown bear (ursus arctos) inventory using GIS in Savsat, Turkey.International Journal Of Ecosystems And Ecology Science IJEES, 7(1), 57-62.
Forest inventory programs involve not only inventorying the tree species' traits but also inventorying the number of wildlife species and their habitats. Brown bear is one of the threatened wildlife species and its habitat must be protected during the natural resources planning processes. Thus, knowing absolute abundance and spatial distribution of the brown bear in a given area helps the managers to plan bear population dynamics and allocate suitable habitats to them within their planning units. The aim of this study was to develop a cost effective, yet well-designed direct inventory methodology to count the brown bear population in the Meydancik Forest Enterprise in Artvin, Turkey. In order to achieve the study goal, the visibility, proximity, and many other spatial analyses tools were utilized within ArcGIS software using a series of geological and environmental variables such as elevation, hill tops, slope, aspect, land use types, stand types, and distances to the roads and rivers. The analysis results showed that 29.8% of the study area was visible from 15 dominant observation points within a sight distance of 2 km while other existed methodologies were observing only the one-third of the same area with 38 observer points. A total number of 35 bears were counted with camera traps and field crew during the field survey conducted in late May 2016. Population density was estimated to be 35 bears/100 km(2) for the region. Other studies were estimated similar bear densities in the same area with more observation points. It can be concluded that the final map that showing visible areas for brown bear observation can provide a precious background to natural resource managers for stratification of the planning unit and delineating the hotspots for biodiversity conservation within a multiple-use forest planning approach.