Physical Geography and Sciences


Shakira Jinez



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Shakira Jinez, Biology
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Tao Tang, Geography and Planning

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a valuable tool in conservation both active and passive. The Pennsylvania Game Commission of Benezette, Pennsylvania has utilized GIS tools to maintain and keep detailed records of the unique landscape in which elk and residents live in abnormally close proximity to each other. The unique relationship between wildlife and locals has led Benezette to be a popular tourist destination which, in turn, has increased instances of human-animal conflict. Increased concern within the game commission for the safety of both residents and tourists has opened a need for further visualization of the game lands which, at times, overlaps residential and tourist areas. In this simulation, various layers of GIS data were obtained via the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PSDA) and manipulated with ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS to create a categorized map of land use within the Benezette area. The map allows us to visualize the overlap between private residencies, tourism hot spots, and the game land. The results highlight areas of interest in which the Pennsylvania Game Commission may revitalize management efforts with the objective of minimizing human-animal conflict. Tourist attractions on private property identified via the simulation open opportunities between land managers and owners to combat concerns from both sides of the spectrum between community and government.

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GIS Analysis of Land Use in Benezette; Pennsylvania: Visualizing Management Conflict
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