Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Fisheries and Wildlife


Winifred B. Kessler


The first chapter of this thesis reviews applications of satellite remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS) in wildlife studies. The simpler uses of remote sensing are for habitat mapping, often using satellite imagery classified for other natural resources. More sophisticated applications incorporate remotely sensed data into a GIS for the digital manipulation of data planes. The most advanced applications are those which use remote sensing and GIS in models predicting habitat quality or population levels.

The second chapter reports how brightness values of six Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) bands were used in multiple linear regressions to predict percent cover of six rangeland components. Regression equations were applied to TM imagery to create cover maps for live shrub, dead and live shrub, sagebrush, forb/grass, forb, and bare ground/rock. Accuracy was assessed at two levels and ranged from 55 to 90%.

The third chapter presents results of sage grouse surveys used with satellite data and GIS to assess habitat use patterns. Habitats used by grouse were compared to availability in the landscape for continuous images of rangeland cover variables, for discrete images of rangeland classes, and for habitat diversity values. Overall, results were comparable to those in studies using traditional methods.