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An Approach for Determining Regional Land Cover and Species Habitat Distributions in the American Southwest: the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project

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Abstract:The Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP) is developing seamless digital coverages for land cover, vertebrate animal habitat, and land management status for the 5-state region of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. The project is a second generation effort of the state-based Gap Analysis Program that maps the distribution of plant communities and selected animal species and compares these distributions with land stewardship to identify biotic elements at potential risk of endangerment. SWReGAP is one of the largest and most complex digital mapping efforts in the world. Land cover is modeled using classification trees based on data from remote sensing (Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper, 3 seasons, 1.999-2001), biophysical models using elevation-derived layer, and field sampling at 92,170 sites. The 125 mapped land cover types are defined as Ecological Systems, a scheme applicable across North America developed and updated by NatureServe. Distributions of habitat for 833 vertebrate species are modeled using available digital data sets (e.g., land cover, elevation, hydrologic features, land form, and soil characteristics), based on associations with vegetation and other habitat variables derived from literature. Limitations in use of the data, and challenges in the "scale-up" of vertebrate models, will be noted with examples. The provisional land cover data set is currently available (http://earth.gis. usu.edu/swgap), and the data sets for vertebrate habitat distribution and land stewardship are near completion.
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Citation:Bradford, D. F., and W. G. Kepner. An Approach for Determining Regional Land Cover and Species Habitat Distributions in the American Southwest: the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project. Presented at Mojave Desert Science Symposium, Redlands, CA, November 16-18, 2004.
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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: 11/16/2004
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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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