A presence-only habitat suitability model for large grazing African ungulates and its utility for wildlife management
A Geographic Information System (GIS)-based model, using presence-only data, was used to predict suitability of habitat for large grazing ungulates on a Zimbabwean wildlife reserve. The management-driven study focused on rare and economically valuable herbivores during the resource-limited hot-dry season. The modelling software Biomapper was used to quantify species-habitat association and derive habitat suitability (HS) maps. Herbivore distribution was primarily determined by distance to surface water, time since last burn and herbaceous layer composition. Findings are discussed within the context of tools available to management and are used to address concerns about the potential for interspecific competition at the habitat level, stocking rate estimation and proposed infrastructure development. Biomapper allowed for the derivation of HS maps here despite the authors' little modelling experience, and appears well suited to management-driven research of African fauna where access to GIS software is available. © 2007 The Authors.