A Time-Geographic Approach to Quantifying Wildlife–Road Interactions

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Recent advances in time geography offer new perspectives for studying animal movements and interactions in an environmental context. In particular, the ability to estimate an animal's spatial location probabilistically at temporal sampling intervals between known fix locations allows researchers to quantify how individuals interact with one another and their environment on finer temporal and spatial scales than previously explored. This article extends methods from time geography, specifically probabilistic space–time prisms, to quantify and summarize animal–road interactions toward understanding related diurnal movement behaviors, including road avoidance. The approach is demonstrated using tracking data for fishers (Martes pennanti) in New York State, where the total probability of interaction with roadways is calculated for individuals over the duration tracked. Additionally, a summarization method visualizing daily interaction probabilities at 60 s intervals is developed to assist in the examination of temporal patterns associated with fishers’ movement behavior with respect to roadways. The results identify spatial and temporal patterns of fisher–roadway interaction by time of day. Overall, the methodologies discussed offer an intuitive means to assess moving object location probabilities in the context of environmental factors. Implications for movement ecology and related conservation planning efforts are also discussed.

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Transactions in GIS, v. 23, issue 1, p. 70-86