Application of the HEP Methodology and Use
of GIS to Identify Priority Sites for the
Management of White-Tailed Deer
Wilfredo Segura López
THE white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)in the Guanacaste area is an important species in tropical dry forest. As part of the social and cultural environment, human populations from this area have benefited from the availability of this resource for many years, using its meat, leather, and antlers (Solís 1986). The Guanacaste area contains the main population of this animal in the country (Solís and Rodŕguez 1986). The evaluation of the white-tailed deer's potential habitat in this area is very important since, in order to manage and conserve this valuable game-ranching species, it is necessary to know the quantity and quality of available habitat.
Different methods and techniques have been developed to analyze and evaluate the physiobiological variables of wildlife habitat in order to develop indices and models that will allow for the deduction of the appropriateness of a habitat for a specific species (Gysel and Lyon 1985; Thomas 1982). For this purpose the following methods have been commonly used: biophysical habitat mapping (Demarchi 1986); the regional evaluation of landscape for wildlife (Anderson, Wentz, and Treadwell 1985); multiple linear regression models (Gaudette and Stauffer 1988); exponential regression models (Patton 1984); habitat gradient models (Short 1982); wildlife and fisheries habitat relationships (Thomas 1982); and habitat evaluation procedures (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1991). The last method is the most widely used in evaluating wildlife habitat.
The habitat evaluation procedure, widely known as HEP, is a method developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to measure the impact of changes carried out by land and water development projects (U.S. Fish and Wildlife