Modeling Habitat for Marbled Murrelets using LiDAR Data in the Siuslaw NF

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LiDAR can provide fine-scale data describing vertical complexity of vegetation, a promising application for informing habitat models for landscape-scale applications.

In a previous study, USGS researchers used LiDAR-derived variables to identify suitable nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet on the Coos Bay District of the BLM. The goal of this project was to test the applicability of the Coos Bay habitat model to other management units in the region. The authors assessed the performance of the model when applied to data from the Siuslaw National Forest in the north-central Oregon Coast Ranges. The Coos Bay model maintained good predictive power when applied to the Siuslaw National Forest, although a model developed with local data had slightly superior performance. These models can be used to assess the status of murrelet habitat in relation to goals specified in the USFWS recovery plan for the marbled murrelet. Authors note that the same LiDAR-derived variables identified here will be useful for quantifying the fine-scale canopy structure associated with murrelet occupancy throughout the Oregon Coast Range.

Hagar, J.C., Perez, R.A., Haggerty, P., and Hollenbeck, J.P., 2018, Modeling habitat for Marbled Murrelets on the Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, using lidar data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1035, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181035

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