Nature’s Network Conservation Design depicts an interconnected network of lands and waters that, if protected, will support a diversity of fish, wildlife, and natural resources that the people of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region depend upon. This map serves as the “cover page” for the Nature’s Network (naturesnetwork.org) suite of products: it outlines some of the most important natural areas in the region and provides an entry point to learn more about the information used to identify them. The Conservation Design represents a combination of three Nature’s Network products: 1) the terrestrial core-connector network, 2) aquatic core areas, and 3) core habitat for imperiled species.
The Terrestrial Core-connector Network is made up of two components: 1) terrestrial and wetland core areas, and 2) connectors. Terrestrial and wetland core areas are intact, well-connected places that have the potential to support wildlife and plants that occur in terrestrial settings (such as upland forests) or in wetlands (such as marshes). These core areas contain important or unique features, including intact, resilient examples of every major ecosystem type in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Core areas contain widespread ecosystems (such as hardwood forests), rare natural communities (such as bogs), and important habitat for a variety of fish, wildlife, and plants. By design, they encompass approximately 25% of the landscape of the region. Core areas are linked together by a network of connectors. If protected, the connectors will foster the movement of animals and plants between core areas and across the landscape into the future. An additional feature of the Terrestrial Core-connector Network is a separately derived network of Grassland Bird Core Areas, the top 10% of which are incorporated into Nature’s Network Conservation Design. Find more information and additional datasets that augment or complement the Terrestrial Core-connector Network here: http://www.naturesnetwork.org/data-tools/terrestrial-and-wetland-core-networks/
Aquatic core areas are intact, well-connected stream reaches, lakes, and ponds in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region that, if protected as part of stream networks and watersheds, will support a broad diversity of aquatic species and the ecosystems on which they depend. They serve as the aquatic counterpart to terrestrial and wetland core areas. They feature intact, resilient examples of every major aquatic ecosystem in the region and also are designed to incorporate habitat for important species such as brook trout, American shad and Atlantic salmon. By design, aquatic core areas encompass approximately 30% of both the region’s river and stream miles (lotic core areas) and the region’s area of lakes and ponds (lentic core areas). Find more information and additional datasets that augment or complement the aquatic core areas here: http://www.naturesnetwork.org/data-tools/aquatic-core-networks/
Core Habitat for Imperiled Species can be viewed as relatively intact areas that contain habitats likely to support high levels of imperiled terrestrial and aquatic species. This product represents a regional network of habitats critical for sustaining populations of imperiled species, based on over 600 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Core habitat for imperiled species is intended to complement aquatic core areas and terrestrial and wetland core areas by highlighting ecosystem (habitat) types where they are closely associated with high numbers of imperiled species. By design, core habitats encompass approximately the top 10% of the natural landscapes estimated to be intact and most important for sustaining imperiled species. Find more information and additional datasets that augment or complement Core Habitat for Imperiled Species here: http://www.naturesnetwork.org/data-tools/habitat/
Nature’s Network Conservation Design, and the broader suite of products and tools of which it is part, offer voluntary guidance to:
Nature’s Network Conservation Design brings together three of a suite of products from Nature’s Network, each of which is itself the integration of a set of foundational datasets. Thus, the Core Design is representative of the vision of Nature’s Network, while simultaneously being a canvas on which to elaborate conservation plans by combining it with auxiliary products and other sources of information. Some additional products you may wish to explore are:
Description and Derivation
Nature’s Network Conservation Design is based on GIS analyses designed to assess the physical and biological value of resources across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and to identify the most important places and connections for them. It is a combination of three Nature’s Network products: 1) the terrestrial core-connector network, 2) aquatic core areas, and 3) core habitat for imperiled species. Detailed technical guides to complete versions of these products used in Nature’s Network Conservation Design are available:
The Terrestrial Core-connector Network: http://jamba.provost.ads.umass.edu/web/lcc/DSL_documentation_tCoreNet.pdf
Aquatic Core Network: http://jamba.provost.ads.umass.edu/web/lcc/DSL_documentation_aCores.pdf
Habitat Condition for Imperiled Species: http://www.naturesnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Habitat_Condition_for_Imperiled_Species_Tech_Documentation.pdf
Nature’s Network Conservation Design was derived as follows:
As with any project carried out across such a large area, Nature’s Network Conservation Design is subject to limitations. The results by themselves are not a prescription for on-the-ground action; users are encouraged to verify, with field visits and site-specific knowledge, the value of any areas identified in the project. Known issues and uncertainties include the following (please refer to the QuickStart guides described previously for additional component-specific issues):The results do not incorporate important social, economic, or feasibility factors.
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