Mammalian Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 293–298 | Cite as

High-use movement pathways and habitat selection by ungulates

  • William D. NewmarkEmail author
  • Eric A. Rickart
Original Investigation


The cumulative movements of large mammals are expressed in many areas as semi-permanent wildlife trails. The mapping of semi-permanent trail networks offers a direct approach to assess habitat selection of high-use movement routes at relatively fine spatial scales across a landscape. Here we examine an ungulate trail network in north-central Utah created and maintained by the repeated movements of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and elk (Cervus elaphus). In a resource selection analysis using multivariable spatial regression analysis, we show that at a spatial scale of 70m open and low cover and distance to water are important predictors of movement pathway density. We also demonstrate at a scale of 10m that elk and deer movement pathways are less steep than adjacent terrain. The mapping of trail networks should be a particularly useful technique for examining functional connectivity among resource patches across a landscape and identifying important high-use movement routes.


Elk GPS mapping Mule deer Spatial regression analysis Ungulate trail network 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural History Museum of UtahUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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