The Wildlife Habitat Indicator for Native Genera and Species (WHINGS) represents the next
iteration of the wildlife habitat model created for the Minnesota Generic Environmental Impact
Statement (GEIS) in the 1990s. The WHINGS framework allows and facilitates forestry and
related natural resource planners and policy analysts to examine the impacts, both positive and
negative, of proposed management scenarios on forest wildlife habitat during environmental
review. In addition, the model can aid the synthesis of wildlife management objectives and
practices during forest plan development. Further, the model can estimate current site specific
wildlife habitat conditions that may influence other aspects of forest management. This research
proposed several updates to the current habitat suitability index methodology used in previous
versions of the model. A case study for Carlton County, Minnesota demonstrates an application
of the updated model for trend analysis across two separate inventories. The output from
WHINGS showed that 28% and 24% of bird species experienced improved and diminished
habitat, respectively. Habitat suitability increased and decreased for 14% of the small and
medium mammals, respectively. Three of the four large mammals saw improved habitat, while
the fourth remained stable. However, the herptofauna had no gains in habitat, but 50% of the
species experienced reductions. Overall, the results illustrate the fact that changes in forest
habitat will benefit some species and negatively impact others. Thus, the significance and utility
of WHINGS results will depend on the user and the criteria surrounding their particular
application. Finally, we note the results are very much a function of the underlying forest
description detail and wildlife species linkages, i.e., habitat suitability indices (HSI). Where
model results differ from what has actually been observed for a wildlife populations, it is
appropriate to revisit and refine the specific wildlife species HSI.
Staff paper series (University of Minnesota. Department of Forest Resources);231
1 electronic resource (PDF; 17 pages)
Zobel, John M.; Ek, Alan R..
The Wildlife Habitat Indicator for Native Genera and Species (WHINGS): Methodology and Application.
University of Minnesota.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
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