To assist the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Planning (Central Coast LRMP) in its decision-making, the Ecosystem Spatial Analysis team was asked to explore a number of possible scenarios and options for protected areas. Using the analytical layers from the ESA and combining them with data about the timber harvesting land base, and the location of proposed protected areas, the ESA team generated a number of scenarios that allowed stakeholders to explore the spatial consequences of their decisions. In order to support this exploration, the ESA team also generated a series of maps that more clearly described the distribution of ecosystem and habitat values by watershed within the LRMP area.
The ESA team used these maps and site selection software known as SITES to help the CCLRMP table consider the relative value of different protected area solutions, and to perform gap analysis of proposed areas. Gap analysis is an evaluation of how much of each ecosystem and habitat type is captured in the proposed areas for protection, relative to the total available in the entire Central Coast LRMP area. Proposed protected areas were evaluated in terms of how well they captured biodiversity values relative to the amount of land they encompassed. This technique was also used to explore trade-offs between biodiversity and other competing values. As these results emerged, and as different scenarios were proposed, the results were presented in a series of meetings with CCLRMP table, CCLRMP technical leads, and with the Joint Solutions Project.