Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Science and Mathematics


Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Nicholas J. Smith-Sebasto

Committee Member

Andrew McDougall

Committee Member

Patrick C. Carr


Throughout the past decade, an increase in urbanization and the population of black bear (Ursus americanus) in New Jersey have caused an overlap of bear habitat and areas of residential and commercial development (Eriksen 1999). Consequently, the close proximity of humans to black bear has resulted in a variety of conflicts (Carr and Burguess 2003). Strategies traditionally used to regulate the numbers and interactions with bear, such as capture and relocation, euthanization, and the utilization of game hunts can be limited by their efficiency and predictability of results. New tools are needed to address the issues of habitat loss, bear population growth, and conflict resolution associated with the cohabitation of humans and bear. This thesis addresses such a need by constructing a habitat suitability index model, which computes indices that can be used to rank various habitats based on their ability to support black bear. Field application of this model will provide researchers and managers with habitat data useful in making regional land use and wildlife management decisions involving the target species.

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