Multi-scaled assessment methods: Prototype development within the Interior Columbia River Basin.EPA Grant Number: R825465
Title: Multi-scaled assessment methods: Prototype development within the Interior Columbia River Basin.
Investigators: Bourgeron, Patrick , Davies, Frank , Davis, Frank , Humphries, Hope , Milne, Bruce , Poff, N. LeRoy
Current Investigators: Bourgeron, Patrick , Davis, Frank , Humphries, Hope , Milne, Bruce , Poff, N. LeRoy
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: February 1, 1997 through January 31, 2000 (Extended to January 31, 2001)
Project Amount: $1,516,180
RFA: Ecological Assessment (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems
Description:The purpose of this project is to use extensive databases compiled for the terrestrial and aquatic systems of the interior Columbia River Basin to investigate relationships among multi-scaled biophysical variables and biological features of terrestrial and aquatic systems of critical value in the use of ecological assessment data. Six objectives are addressed: (1) Link biophysical and biological patterns associated with terrestrial and aquatic systems at different scales. (2) Quantify the scaled relations of linked biophysical and biological systems. (3) Develop methods for predicting broad and fine scale patterns over areas of varying sizes. (4) Classify landscapes at different scales based on biophysical and biological characteristics and define probabilities of response of the biotic components of landscapes. (5) Verify the effectiveness of classifications based on indirect variables (e.g., elevation, lithology, landforms) for predicting bioenvironments (groups of direct variables, e.g., climatic variables) and biological characteristics of areas of varying sizes for evaluating alternative land management strategies and conservation. (6) Prototype multi-scaled representativeness assessments for evaluating alternative land management strategies using products from objectives 1-5 with a regional conservation example.
To meet these objectives, the following steps will be taken: (1) Identify fine scale patterns of interest (biotic and abiotic) to be predicted by classification, maps, and models. (2) Associate indirect and direct biophysical variables with each study ecological scale (province, section, subsection, and land type association). (3) Sample fine-scale patterns across coarser-scale biophysical environments. (4) Determine the biophysical variables that most influence finer scale features (biotic and abiotic). (5) Use numerical classification techniques to develop ecological classifications and maps based on a reduced number of indirect and direct biophysical environments. (6) Determine relationships between biotic components (species and communities) and biophysical environments. (7) Determine how accurately classes developed using direct biophysical variables can be predicted using indirect variables and vice versa. (8) Determine whether the hierarchical structure of biophysical environments constrains the patterns of distribution, abundance, and coexistence of species and as a consequence contributes to the hierarchical structure of biotic communities. (9) Test the effectiveness of classifications, maps, and models in assessing the representativeness of specific areas for regional conservation planning. Major products expected from this project include digital and hard copy maps of biophysical environments and predicted biotic distributions across the interior Columbia River basin at each study scale; classification of biophysical environments based on direct variables; models predicting species and community distributions; inclusion of project data in a prototype platform designed for data storage, retrieval, statistical, and spatial analysis, and detailed methodologies for conducting regional ecological assessments and representativeness assessments. The various characterization and analysis protocols proposed in this study will benefit the users of the interior Columbia River Basin assessment products as well as all participants in multi-scale ecological assessments conducted in the U.S. and elsewhere. Results from this study will provide a how to framework for various user groups, primarily for regulatory and land managing agencies, but also including private land managers and land use planners, including conservation planning and stewardship.