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Broad-Scale Assessment of Wetland Vulnerability Using GIS and Landscape-Ecological Metrics

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Abstract: Landscape-ecological indicators of ecosystem integrity are increasingly being sought for use in habitat suitability assessments, habitat vulnerability assessments, and as a means to set goals for restoration projects. We utilized currently available information from the Arkansas GAP Program, Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST), and National Wetland Inventory (NWI) to determine the ecological vulnerability of wetlands in the Lower White River Basin (Arkansas). The documented ecological requirements of wetland species in the region were used to inform the merged GAP, CAST, and NWI habitat models for the 897,000 White River Basin study area. Wetland patch size, patch shape, and human-induced disturbance factors were used to determine the relative ecological vulnerability of wetland habitat for mallard duck, black bear, and plant species undercurrent and future landscape conditions. Results in the white River Basin indicate that a substantial proportion of wetland habitat is vulnerable to fragmentation or loss, as a result of patch configuration and/or hurnan-induced disturbance factors. The models suggest that a future decrease in the occurrence or duration of wetland flooding along 226 kilometers of riparian habitat in the White River National Wildlife Refuge would result in the net loss of 2822 hectares of habitat for obligate-wetland or facultative-wetland organisms, in specific areas. The model results demonstrate that selected spectral remote sensing data, NWI data, and ecological principles can be combined to develop a practical ecological vulnerability model for wetlands at broad scales.
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Citation:Lopez, R. D., D. T. Heggem, and J. G. Lyon. Broad-Scale Assessment of Wetland Vulnerability Using GIS and Landscape-Ecological Metrics. Presented at American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Las Vegas, NV, July 27-30, 2003.
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 07/27/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Development of Landscape Indicators for Use in Regional Ecological Risk Assessments
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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