Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joni D. Firat, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Philip Van Beynen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shawn Landry, Ph.D.


anti-covering location problem, breeding pair, GIS, habitat suitability index, herbaceous wetland


The Florida sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis pratensis) is a non-migratory bird species occurring throughout the Florida peninsula and the Okefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia. Human land-altering activities have led to a substantial decline in the amount and condition of suitable habitat, including grasslands, for the species in Florida, thereby decreasing the population size significantly. Grasslands located in close proximity to nesting locations are one of the habitat types on which the population viability of the species depends, as they provide foraging and brooding habitat which is crucial for successful reproduction. The purpose of this study is to propose the most effective strategies for grassland restoration to increase the spatial carrying capacity of the Florida sandhill crane living in Pasco County, Florida. An existing GIS-based Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model for Florida sandhill cranes was applied for habitat assessment by using a geographic information system (GIS). To identify how much spatial carrying capacity can be increased through grassland restoration, an existing Anti-Covering Location Problem (ACLP) model was solved, using a custom Python script to generate equations in linear programming format and IBM C-PLEX to solve the equations. It was found that the amount of suitable habitat is significant, depending on the suitability threshold value. Respectively, 4, 22, and 54 areas favorable to grassland restoration were detected based on three scenarios in which suitability thresholds at 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0 were applied, respectively. If strategic number of those sites are restored to grasslands, the increases in the spatial carrying capacity would be 2, 10, and 24 breeding pairs, respectively.