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THE CONSEQUENCES OF LANDSCAPE CHANGE ON ECOLOGICAL RESOURCES: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE UNITED STATES MID-ATLANTIC REGION
Jones, K B., A C. Neale, T G. Wade, J D. Wickham, C L. Cross, C M. Edmonds, T. R. Loveland, M S. Nash, AND K. H. Riitters. THE CONSEQUENCES OF LANDSCAPE CHANGE ON ECOLOGICAL RESOURCES: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE UNITED STATES MID-ATLANTIC REGION. ECOSYSTEM HEALTH 7(4):229-242, (2002).
The primary objectives of this research are to:
Develop methodologies so that landscape indicator values generated from different sensors on different dates (but in the same areas) are comparable; differences in metric values result from landscape changes and not differences in the sensors;
Quantify relationships between landscape metrics generated from wall-to-wall spatial data and (1) specific parameters related to water resource conditions in different environmental settings across the US, including but not limited to nutrients, sediment, and benthic communities, and (2) multi-species habitat suitability;
Develop and validate multivariate models based on quantification studies;
Develop GIS/model assessment protocols and tools to characterize risk of nutrient and sediment TMDL exceedence;
Complete an initial draft (potentially web based) of a national landscape condition assessment.
This research directly supports long-term goals established in ORDs multiyear plans related to GPRA Goal 2 (Water) and GPRA Goal 4 (Healthy Communities and Ecosystems), although funding for this task comes from Goal 4. Relative to the GRPA Goal 2 multiyear plan, this research is intended to "provide tools to assess and diagnose impairment in aquatic systems and the sources of associated stressors." Relative to the Goal 4 Multiyear Plan this research is intended to (1) provide states and tribes with an ability to assess the condition of waterbodies in a scientifically defensible and representative way, while allowing for aggregation and assessment of trends at multiple scales, (2) assist Federal, State and Local managers in diagnosing the probable cause and forecasting future conditions in a scientifically defensible manner to protect and restore ecosystems, and (3) provide Federal, State and Local managers with a scientifically defensible way to assess current and future ecological conditions, and probable causes of impairments, and a way to evaluate alternative future management scenarios.
Spatially explicit identification of changes in ecological conditions over large areas is key to targeting and prioritizing areas for environmental protection and restoration by managers at watershed, basin, and regional scales. A critical limitation to this point has been the development of methods to conduct such broad-scale assessments. Field-based methods have proven to be too costly and too inconsistent in their application to make estimates of ecological conditions over large areas. New spatial data derived from satellite imagery and other sources, the development of statistical models relating landscape composition and pattern to ecological endpoints, and geographic information systems (GIS) make it possible to evaluate ecological conditions at multiple scales over broad geographic areas. In this study, we demonstrate the application of spatially distributed models for bird habitat quality and nitrogen yield to streams to assess the consequences of land-cover change across the Mid-Atlantic region between the 1970s and 1990s. Moreover, we present a way to evaluate spatial concordance between models related to different environmental endpoints. Results of this study should help environmental managers in the Mid-Atlantic region target those areas in need of conservation and Protection
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Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION
LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH