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We propose to support the revision and implementation of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Conservation Blueprint by integrating its Ecosystem Indicators into a structured decision support system that makes explicit how the Indicators are interrelated and how these will respond to management and policy interventions aimed at improving the conservation status of the South Atlantic region. Our specific objectives are to (1) develop ecological production functions that predict theecological impacts of selected conservation actions relative to current conditions, and to propagate these impacts through other affected systems or functions; (2) codify protocols for updating and curating geospatial...
We will develop SMART-SLEUTH, an advanced spatially explicit modeling framework designed to augment the current SLEUTH model with sophisticated smart-growth capabilities. Based on the latest version of SLEUTH, we will create an open-source GIS-enabled software package that will implement SMART-SLEUTH with advanced modules and tools for evaluating, predicting, and visualizing smart growth scenarios and outcomes. In this software package, a more user friendly Graphic User Interface (GUI), a multi-level automatic calibration approach built on machine learning algorithms, and new spatial landscape metrics for quantifying land change patterns will provide enhanced support for complex model configuration, calibration,...
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently completed an unprecedented assessment of almost 14,000 dams in the Northeastern United States. The Northeast Aquatic Connectivity (NAC) project allows fisheries managers and other interested parties to assess dams at multiple scales based on their potential to benefit anadromous and resident fish species if removed or bypassed. This work has continued, with support from NOAA and USFWS, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where data refinements and further analysis have produced a web map and tool that allow users to interactively prioritize dams for mitigation at multiple scales and with varying criteria.The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) has recently completed...
Describing the social network that links the interconnected partners is the first step to leverage the network’s capacity to be greater than the sum of its parts.The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative partners and a social network scientist are applying social network theory to create a system of nodes and edges of a Conservation Social Network. Dr. Patrick Bixler is working with partners to quantify the connections and flow of information. A short series of surveys that began in 2015 will measure the baseline dynamics of partner communication and establish a place from which to set benchmarks and future goals. The idea is to better leverage partner expertise and facilitate collaboration across...
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The North Atlantic Region of the United States and Canada boasts diverse habitats, from coasts to mountains, that support endemic and rare plant species. However, recent conservation actions and prioritization efforts in this region have neglected to include plants. We have conducted a conservation assessment for vascular plants that occur in the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Using the best scientific data, we have developed a list of vascular plant species of concern for the region. We have refined the list with the input of Natural Heritage and other regional botanists and experts. For each species, we have determined regional conservation responsibility, developed regional ranks, updated...
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All Conservation Design Elements identified through a multi-year conservation planning effort undertaken by the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). These elements were identified by the program Marxan as meeting collective conservation targets. Datasets include a merged design of all five elements, individual element shapefiles, and a prioritization shapefile (Conservation Design elements outlined by the NatureScape Design that were then placed into a prioritization framework based on Margulis and Pressy 2000).
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The capacity of ecosystems to provide services such as carbon storage, clean water, and forest products is determined not only by variations in ecosystem properties across landscapes, but also by ecosystem dynamics over time. ForWarn is a system developed by the U.S. Forest Service to monitor vegetation change using satellite imagery for the continental United States. It provides near real-time change maps that are updated every eight days, and summaries of these data also provide long-term change maps from 2000 to the present.Based on the detection of change in vegetation productivity, the ForWarn system monitors the effects of disturbances such as wildfires, insects, diseases, drought, and other effects of weather,...
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WaSSI (Water Supply Stress Index) predicts how climate, land cover, and human population change may impact water availability and carbon sequestration at the watershed level (about the size of a county) across the lower 48 United States. WaSSI users can select and adjust temperature, precipitation, land cover, and water use factors to simulate change scenarios for any timeframe from 1961 through the year 2100.Simulation results are available as downloadable maps, graphs, and data files that users can apply to their unique information and project needs. WaSSI generates useful information for natural resource planners and managers who must make informed decisions about water supplies and related ecosystem services...
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This shapefile represents The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) “essential forests” and “key connectors” in the Central Appalachians Whole System. Essential Forests are built around groups of large forest patches, ecoregional portfolio roll-up sites, and areas with high local integrity and high flow density (from M. Anderson’s resiliency analysis). Key Connectors provide physical linkages among essential forests, have high flow density, and may also include large forest patches and matrix blocks. The polygons were originally delineated by TNC staff at a workshop near Petersburg, West Virginia, on March 9 and 10, 2011. The boundaries were hand-drawn on paper maps and then hand-digitized by A. Watland (TNC-VA) and T. Gagnolet...
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The Appalachians are a landscape filled with globally-significant biological diversity and cultural resources that provides essential benefits to large cities and surrounding human communities. The region is also rich in energy resources that meet national and regional demands for energy. As wind, natural gas, and oil energy development expand along with traditional coal, there is an increasing need for research to inform discussions on how to meet immediate and future energy needs while sustaining the health of natural systems. To help address this need, the Appalachian LCC awarded a grant to The Nature Conservancy to assess current and future energy development across the entire region. Assessing Future Energy...
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Provisional Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (TN-SWAP) terrestrial habitat priorities versus results of the population growth model developed by the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, 2008, converted to percent projected developed landcover in the year 2040. Spatial growth model was developed using population growth projections from the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research (UT-CBER), county urban growth boundaries, 2000 census blocks, and various ancillary datasets.
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Systematic conservation planning is well suited to address the many large-scale biodiversity conservation challenges facing the Appalachian region. However, broad, well-connected landscapes will be required to sustain many of the natural resources important to this area into the future. If these landscapes are to be resilient to impending change, it will likely require an orchestrated and collaborative effort reaching across jurisdictional and political boundaries. The first step in realizing this vision is prioritizing discrete places and actions that hold the greatest promise for the protection of biodiversity. Five conservation design elements covering many critical ecological processes and patterns across the...
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The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central U.S. and south-central Canada contains millions of small prairie wetlands that provide critical habitat to many migrating and breeding waterbirds. Due to their small size and the relatively dry climate of the region, these wetlands are considered at high risk for negative climate change effects as temperatures increase. To estimate the potential impacts of climate change on breeding waterbirds, we predicted current and future distributions of species common in the PPR using species distribution models (SDMs). We created regional-scale SDMs for the U.S. PPR using Breeding Bird Survey occurrence records for 1971–2011 and wetland, upland, and climate variables....
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Native grasslands have been reduced to a fraction of their original extent, with estimated total loss prior to the 1990s of 70% for prairie grassland (Federal Provincial and Territorial Governments of Canada 2010). Conversion of native grassland to cropland and tame hayfields or pasture has been one of the leading drivers of native grassland loss in North America. Degradation of native grasslands also continues in some areas due to changes in natural disturbance regimes such as fire suppression and intensive prolonged cattle grazing, threats from invasive non-native species, fragmentation, intensification of agriculture, and economic development associated with population growth(Federal Provincial and Territorial...
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Stream fragmentation alters the structure of aquatic communities on a global scale, generally through loss of native species. Among riverscapes in the Great Plains of North America, stream fragmentation and hydrologic alteration (flow regulation and dewatering) are implicated in the decline of native fish diversity. This study documents the spatio–temporal distribution of fish reproductive guilds in the fragmented Arkansas and Ninnescah rivers of south-central Kansas using retrospective analyses involving 63 years of fish community data. Pelagic-spawning fishes declined throughout the study area during 1950–2013, including Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi) last reported in 1983, plains minnow (Hybognathus...
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Habitat fragmentation and flow regulation are significant factors related to the decline and extinction of freshwater biota. Pelagic-broadcast spawning cyprinids require moving water and some length of unfragmented stream to complete their life cycle. However, it is unknown how discharge and habitat features interact at multiple spatial scales to alter the transport of semi-buoyant fish eggs. Our objective was to assess the relationship between downstream drift of semi-buoyant egg surrogates (gellan beads) and discharge and habitat complexity. We quantified transport time of a known quantity of beads using 2–3 sampling devices at each of seven locations on the North Canadian and Canadian rivers. Transport time...
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Sediment accumulation in playa wetlands, such as those in the Rainwater Basin in south-central Nebraska, reduces the hydrologic functionality and alters the vegetative composition of the wetlands reducing their ability to provide forage and resting habitat for migratory birds. Most Rainwater Basin wetlands have intense agricultural production occuring within their watersheds that accelerate sediment accumulation within the wetland. This sediment accumulation reduced the abilty of the wetland to hold water which, in turn, allows invasive and upland plants to proliferate with the wetland footprint. Planting upland grassland buffers around wetlands reduces the sediment load entering the wetland reducing the need...
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We used the United States National Grid to develop a sampling grid for monitoring programs in the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative, delineated by Bird Conservation Regions 18 and 19. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives are science based partnerships with the goal to inform and guide conservation at regional landscape levels. Developing a standardized sampling grid for a LCC is a new endeavor and is designed to reduce program costs, avoid repetition in sampling, and increase efficiency in monitoring programs. This is possible because the grid’s nationwide coverage, uniform starting point, and scalability allow researchers to expand their monitoring programs from a small, local level to a regional or...


map background search result map search result map Interacting Effects of Discharge and Channel Morphology on Transport of Semibuoyant Fish Eggs in Large, Altered River Systems Appalachian LCC Landscape Conservation Design Phase 1 Local Build-outs RUSLE2 Soil Erosion Model for the Rainwater Basin Region of Nebraska WASSI Future Change in Water Supply Stress Index 1991-2010 ForWarn Mean Summer National Difference Vegetation Index 2009-2013 Amount of inflow stored in upstream dams-rivers Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC Comparative Analysis of Native Prairie Spatial Delineation Methods in the Prairie Ecozone Prioritization and Conservation Status of Rare Plants in the North Atlantic Region LiDAR Derived Watershed Boundaries for Rainwater Basin Wetlands Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region Publication: Fragmentation and drying ratchet down Great Plains stream fish diversity NatureScape, Design Essential Forests and Key Connectors in the Central Appalachians Whole System Final Report: Integrated monitoring within BCR’s: Creating a wildlife monitoring grid for the GPLCC Future Energy Development Tool Public Provisional Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan Potential Urban Growth RUSLE2 Soil Erosion Model for the Rainwater Basin Region of Nebraska LiDAR Derived Watershed Boundaries for Rainwater Basin Wetlands Provisional Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan Potential Urban Growth Interacting Effects of Discharge and Channel Morphology on Transport of Semibuoyant Fish Eggs in Large, Altered River Systems Essential Forests and Key Connectors in the Central Appalachians Whole System Publication: Fragmentation and drying ratchet down Great Plains stream fish diversity Final Report: Integrated monitoring within BCR’s: Creating a wildlife monitoring grid for the GPLCC Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC WASSI Future Change in Water Supply Stress Index 1991-2010 NatureScape, Design Future Energy Development Tool Public Appalachian LCC Landscape Conservation Design Phase 1 Local Build-outs Amount of inflow stored in upstream dams-rivers ForWarn Mean Summer National Difference Vegetation Index 2009-2013 Prioritization and Conservation Status of Rare Plants in the North Atlantic Region Comparative Analysis of Native Prairie Spatial Delineation Methods in the Prairie Ecozone Vulnerability of Breeding Waterbirds to Climate Change in the Prairie Pothole Region