Forest Change Assessment and Simulation Tool (ForCAST) - Mammal Habitat Model Output
The Forest Change Assessment and Simulation Tool (ForCAST) is designed to provide projections of how forest composition and the goods and services that forests provide will change from 2020 to 2100 under different management and climate scenarios on 3,800,000 acres in northeastern Minnesota. It also helps users understand how Minnesotans value those forest goods and services. Foundational landscape change modeling was done using the LANDIS-II model, allowing for a better understanding of forest composition and carbon. Subsequent wildlife habitat and water quality and quantity modeling were done using the WHINGS and HSPF models, respectively. All models were run for each of 12 unique combinations of the management and climate scenarios.
Mammal habitat quality was modeled using the Wildlife Habitat Indicator for Native Genera and Species (WHINGS) Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model. Using the forest cover type and size classes predictions from the landscape modeling, HSI models were run to predict the relative habitat suitability of an area for 26 mammal species present in northeastern Minnesota with a base model output of a quarter township (28.3 square kilometers). The results were aggregated into groups based on species characteristics or wildlife management and monitoring practices. A high HSI value indicates that a habitat is very suitable for a species or group, but does not predict population levels.
More information and an interactive web application are available at mnforcast.org.