Skip to main content
Dryad logo

LiDAR reveals a preference for intermediate visibility by a forest-dwelling ungulate species: Code and LiDAR data

Citation

Zong, Xin; Wang, Tiejun; Skidmore, Andrew; Heurich, Marco (2022), LiDAR reveals a preference for intermediate visibility by a forest-dwelling ungulate species: Code and LiDAR data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tx95x6b21

Abstract

  1. Visibility (viewshed) plays a significant and diverse role in animals’ behavior and fitness. Understanding how visibility influences animal behavior requires the measurement of habitat visibility at spatial scales commensurate to individual animal choices. However, measuring habitat visibility at a fine spatial scale over a landscape is a challenge, particularly in highly heterogeneous landscapes (e.g., forests). As a result, our ability to model the influence of fine-scale visibility on animal behavior has been impeded or limited.
  2. In this study, we demonstrate the application of the concept of 3D cumulative viewshed in the study of animal spatial behavior at a landscape level. Specifically, we employed a newly described approach that combines terrestrial and airborne LiDAR to measure fine-scale habitat visibility (3D cumulative viewshed) on a continuous scale in forested landscapes. We applied the LiDAR-derived visibility to investigate how visibility in forests affects the summer habitat selection and the movement of 20 GPS-collared female red deer Cervus elaphus in a temperate forest in Germany. We used integrated step selection analysis to determine whether red deer show any preference for fine-scale habitat visibility and whether visibility is related to the rate of movement of red deer.
  3. We found that red deer selected intermediate habitat visibility. Their preferred level of visibility during the day was substantially lower than that of night and twilight, whereas the preference was not significantly different between night and twilight. In addition, red deer moved faster in high-visibility areas, possibly mainly to avoid predation and anthropogenic risk. Furthermore, red deer moved most rapidly between locations in the twilight.
  4. For the first time, the preference for intermediate habitat visibility and the adaption of movement rate to fine-scale visibility by a forest-dwelling ungulate species at a landscape scale was revealed. The LiDAR technique used in this study offers fine-scale habitat visibility at the landscape level in forest ecosystems, which would be of broader interest in the fields of animal ecology and behavior.

Methods

Please see detailed description as to how these data were colleced and processed in the paper "LiDAR reveals a preference for intermediate visibility by a forest-dwelling ungulate species".

Usage Notes

The datasets are used for demonstrating the method to generate the fine-scale LiDAR-based visibility, which is elaborated in the paper "LiDAR reveals a preference for intermediate visibility by a forest-dwelling ungulate species". The detailed specifications of these datasets are described in the README file. The R and C++ codes implementing this method are also attached. The detailed steps as to the usage of these code scripts are described in the README file contained in 3DViewshed codes.rar. 

Funding

China Scholarship Council, Award: 201704910852

European Research Council, Award: 834709 H2020-EU.1.1.