Applying the MCE to the identified factors required for developing an ecological corridor
After applying the MCE model to the study area, the final MCE yielded results of a land suitability layer. The suitability layer indicated the areas of land that are most suitable and least suitable to have the LCP run through, and thus also have the greatest and lowest suitability for the corridor to be implemented. This provided the necessary means to generate a cost-surface layer for the LCP in order to site the ecological corridor most suitable for moose to travel, while still not compromising human land uses. The MCE indicated that the least suitable land for an ecological corridor was primarily found in the northernmost part of Adirondack Park and the edges of the park, while land of higher suitability was found throughout the central and southern parts of the study area (figure 2). Due to the mountainous nature of the park, many areas are considered to have lower suitability due to the high ranking of the preference for lower slope criteria within the pair-wise comparison. This high ranking for the preference of lower slopes criteria was due to the importance of targeting the lowest slopes possible for increased moose traveling capabilities. Therefore, the slope criteria used a low overall suitability for the final MCE, due to the lack of low slopes within the study site. As such, this is reflected in the output of the MCE model (figure 3). A large portion of the area was deemed in close proximity to wetlands and therefore the majority of the study site for this criteria was highly suitable (figure 4). As well, the elaborate road network within the study area made the proximity to roads suitability quite low in a large portion of the study area, due to the large dispersion of human habituation throughout the site (figure 5). Applying rural area as a criteria, although the least preferred of all the land area criteria, was able to increase the overall suitability scale range by approximately 11, from approximately 0-30 to approximately 0-41. This was due to the high amount of low slope areas that were also areas classified under the rural land use classification. By allowing these rural areas to be analyzed within the MCE, some of these rural areas were deemed suitable enough to increase the overall suitability of the study site.
Applying the LCP to the MCE suitability layer,
Applying the LCP to the final MCE results allowed for a potential pathway for an ecological corridor to be developed (figure 2). This pathway took into consideration cost of the MCE suitability layer in order to effectively provide a pathway from the north boundary of the park to the south boundary of the park. The pathway that was generated, based on the results yielded by the MCE, provided the most cost-effective route with regards to the ecological suitability for moose. The LCP avoided the anthropogenic land uses while ensuring that it was located primarily in wilderness area, primitive area, or resource management area (figure 6). This demonstrates that the LCP analysis of the MCE was successful enough that any contradictions that exist between the criteria, such as the most preferred slopes being in the least preferred land use criteria of rural areas, didn't inhibit the pathway from reaching its destination.
Figure 2: A map of the final suitability layer and least-cost pathway in Adirondack Park.
Figure 3: A map of the slope suitability layer with the least-cost pathway in Adirondack Park.
Figure 4: A map showing the wetland proximity suitability layer and the least-cost pathway in Adirondack Park.
Figure 5: A map showing the road proximity suitability layer and the least-cost pathway in Adirondack Park.
Figure 6: A map showing the land use layer with the least-cost pathway in Adirondack Park.