Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Ralph W. Dimmick
Dave Buehler, John Rennie, Mike King
Two Habitat Suitability index models were created for ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in the Cumberland Plateau physiographic region of Tennessee. One model evaluated winter habitat and the other evaluated brood habitat. The model for winter habitat used four variables to evaluate habitat suitability, including proximity to evergreen shrub thickets, habitat diversity within home range size, ageclass of the overstory and overstory forest group. The brood habitat model used four variables to evaluate habitat for young broods, including proximity to daylighted roads, habitat diversity within home range, overstory ageclass, and overstory forest group. The models were applied to the currently inventoried portion (approximately 30%) of the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. These models were used to explore the assumption that there are two major limiting factors for grouse in Tennessee, winter habitat and brood habitat, and to determine the location of the best of these habitats in relation to each other on the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. Very little of the currently inventoried area had high suitability under either model. On a scale of 0-1.0 where 1.0 is optimal habitat, the winter habitat model classified only 1.06% of the currently inventoried area greater than 0.75 The brood habitat model classified only 0.30% of the inventoried area greater than 0.75 Areas with HSI values above 0.75 for both models were often within home range size, but the scarcity of high quality habitat on Catoosa indicates grouse densities will remain low without increased forest management for their needs.
Doan, Melora Ann, "A Habitat Suitability Index Model for Ruffed Grouse on the Cumberland Plateau. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1996.