Proceedings of the 2007 SCGIS Annual Meeting
(June 25 - 27, 2007, Asilomar, Monterey, California, USA)
Track 2: Technologies and Methods
WEDNESDAY 9-10:30 Session 2D: Prioritization
Upland Habitat Goals: A Vision for Conserving Biodiversity in the San Francisco Bay Area
The Upland Goals Project is a science-based conservation planning process designed to recommend the types, amounts and distribution of terrestrial habitats, linkages, compatible uses and actions needed to protect or restore the ecological processes that sustain diverse and healthy communities of plant, fish and wildlife resources in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. This project is developing a framework to be used as a decision-support tool to inform voluntary, nonregulatory investments, protection strategies and management policies of public resource agencies, nonprofit conservation organizations, local government, elected officials and private foundations seeking to preserve, enhance and restore the biological diversity of upland habitats before advancing development eliminates remaining opportunities. This presentation will discuss the GIS database and spatial analysis at the core of this planning process. Though the project is about 1 year into a 2 year process, the coarse filter vegetation analysis has been completed and initial results provide a framework for setting quantitative acreage goals for protection and stewardship of vegetation across the Bay Area.
Jamie Lyn King
Prioritizing Open Space Acquisition Areas in Rapidly Developing Coastal California: Balancing Conflicting Recreation, Biological and Aesthetic Concerns Through Simple Modeling and GIS
Mamady Kobélé Kéita
Key Biodiversity Areas in Guinea
The Guinean Forests of West Africa is one of the most highly fragmented of the 34 global Biodiversity hotspots. Adequately conserving Biodiversity unique to this hotspot requires identification of sites where conservation must be undertaken within the larger region. Two previous efforts to do this have either been data-driven but not multi-taxa (Important Bird Areas) or multi-taxa but not data-driven (West Africa Priority Setting Workshop in 1999). We extended these by identifying Key Biodiversity Areas, sites of global significance for Biodiversity Conservation as a data-driven, multi-taxon approach.
We synthesized and analyzed fine-scale distributional data for 72 globally threatened species across 6 taxonomic groups and identified a total of 28 Key Biodiversity Areas covering 14,748 km2.
With geographic information gained on these sites, we've set the first Guinean Key Biodiversity Areas map.
Unfortunately accurate boundaries of most of these KBAs have not been assessed recently. As the second step of our conservation action, we'd like to demonstrate to decision-makers, using GIS tools, how severe the habitat loss is for threatened species by comparing two periods of time. This work could also help in planning conservation actions within these sites.
Gioconda Amarilis Remache Benavides
Priority Areas Identification for Conservation Actions in the South of Ecuador
The development of nonsustainable human activities has degraded the natural environment and created fragmented landscapes. This research proposes the conservation of natural areas, promoting its connectivity through the combination of priority areas identification methods, and GIS tools. The priority areas identification is based on the ecological integrity analysis and pressures-threatens criteria. The ecological integrity concept is based on landscape ecology theories, which considers landscape's function, composition and structure criteria. Moreover, it applies other concepts such as conservation corridors and umbrella species habitat modeling (by using multivariate statistical techniques) in order to support the previous definitions. On the other hand, the development of activities such as the mining industry, the presence of people with nonconservationist culture, or simply the availability of access ways in places closed to natural areas have fundamental roles in the landscape degradation framework. These activities become pressures and threats that attempt against the ecological integrity. GIS techniques become the basic tool that supports all the processes, and with which spatial referenced products were obtained. Those cartographic products are easily communicable, in order to show the areas where the conservation, recovery, and restoration planning is necessary. At the same time, these maps are useful to visualize the conservation nucleus areas which would become the focal centers for the conservation corridors design.
WEDNESDAY 11-12:30 Session 2E: Protected Areas
Conservation Management Using Integrated MIST-GIS in Cambodia Protected Areas
Biodiversity and Protected Area management in Cambodia can be made more effective if interventions are constantly evaluated and improved through use of adaptive management techniques. Law enforcement patrol is recognized as the main task to work immediately, stopping all illegal activities related to forest and wildlife crime in Protected Areas. Monitoring of this effort is needed in order to continually improve the surveillance and protection strategy of the area. MIST is a spatial Management Information System, custom-made for use in protected area management. It served as a tool to analyze the patrol data recorded by law enforcement patrol component working in Protected Area management. MIST provides managers with easy access to information for planning, decision-making and evaluation (Schmitt and Sallee, 2002). Since July 2004 WCS Cambodia Program has started using MIST-GIS database, after a year, worked on adapting for use in Cambodia. WCS is currently using the program for law enforcement patrol data management and species monitoring in its conservation sites where they maintain very significant population of globally threatened species. To operate MIST requires a database design, patrol teams formation, defining the conservation management sector, MIST users training, law enforcement staff training and GPS training. So far WCS Cambodia is maintaining these techniques in order to operate law enforcement patrolling, and currently 30,000+ data records of wildlife and illegal human activities have been recorded in MIST-GIS database. MIST-GIS has limited capacities so finally we also need to use GIS to produce the standard maps about the distribution and trend and interaction of wildlife and human activities in conservation areas.
Geospatial Database on Protected Areas of Baikal Region: Practical Importance
The lake Baikal is included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage. It means that Baikal is world-renowned, so exceptional and of such significance that its conservation and protection for present and future generations is a matter of concern for the international community as a whole. The protected area system of Baikal region comprises 5 strict nature reserves (zapovedniks), 3 national parks, 23 wildlife refuges (or game reserve-zakazniks) and over 200 natural monuments and other unique objects. Besides this, there are 1 wetland of international importance and 1 wetland on the Ramsar Shadow List. The goal of my work is to provide community with precise spatial information on protected areas, and a Geospatial database is an essential tool for this purpose.
Ecosystem Vulnerability and Emerging Threats to Biodiversity at Rio Cajari Ecological Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon, Amapá State, Brazil
Amapá is the state with the greatest proportion of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Approximately 70% of its territory is under some kind of legal protection (indigenous lands, strictly protected or sustainable use protected areas). Although local evidences show major threats to ecosystems integrity inside protected areas, fine scale human activities threatening ecosystems are not qualified or quantified due to intense cloud covering, use of inadequate cartographic databases and to the lack of professionals capable of making complex spatial analyses. In this work we explore GIS analysis techniques for identifying emerging threats to biodiversity and ecosystem vulnerability in Rio Cajari Ecological Reserve (RESEX Cajari). Based on a detailed spatial database we quantify fine scale deforestation patterns and evaluate how these patterns relate to different human activities inside the reserve.
The results of this work give us insights on the major causes of deforestation in Amapá and will subsidize management plans and public policies in the state.
RESEX Cajari is a maintainable use UC, which shelters traditional communities that extract products with no lumbermen (mainly chestnut of Brazil and andiroba). This UC presents different environment types, including rain forest, savannah and flooded. It presents several environmental pressures as small towns, BR 156 road, witch cross UC, fire, unofficial highways, etc. GIS will be use to identify different environment types and pressures in UC, the pressures from extrativista and clandestine use (pasture and highways opening, fire). The traditional people and their respective exploration ranches will also be identified. The results will contribute to RESEX Cajari conservation and administration.
Developing a Geodatabase to Support Village Land Use Planning and Chimpanzee Conservation in Greater Gombe Ecosystem Tanzania
Located in western Tanzania, Greater Gombe Ecosystem includes Gombe National Park and adjacent village lands and forests within 30-40 km from the park, important for chimpanzees. The Greater Gombe Ecosystem program aims to restore and conserve chimpanzee habitats outside the park and at the same time improve the livelihood of the people. One of its main objectives is to establish in cooperation with thirteen local communities and District Government a network of Village Forest Reserves and participatory village land use plans as required by Tanzanian law. A GIS Database was developed using ArcView 3.3 and MS Access to inform and monitor community based conservation efforts. In this paper I will discuss how GIS helped village land use teams understand village landscapes, chimpanzee habitat needs, communicate this knowledge to diverse stakeholders and develop a final village land use map accepted by the villagers and Tanzanian Government.
Ana Maria de Godoy Teixeira
Landscape Analysis of São João River Basin and Its Use by the Golden Lion Tamarin
The fragmented forest of the São João River Basin represents the last remaining habitats for the golden lion tamarin, an endemic and threatened species that occurs only in Rio de Janeiro's Atlantic Forest. For this, AMLD and partners work hard to make and to keep most of these protected and to restore the connectivity of this landscape using corridors and agro-forestry systems. GIS Laboratory of the AMLD developed recently a methodology to have a ranking of these fragments, given values in accordance with a better or worse response to our actions. We study the composition and configuration of these fragments in the São João river basin landscape: (i.) How does golden lion tamarin use this landscape? (ii.) Is the restoration of vegetation beside the rivers important to connectivity? (iii.) Do small fragments have important role for the matrix permeability? Analysis of different variables (distance to rivers, roads, cities) in relation to forest fragments and no forest unities plus behavior of the golden lion tamarin allow us to give values for these fragments, too. We used, as basis, a Landsat-7 satellite image (2000), and, with this: (i.) delimited forest and no forest unities, (ii.) made distance buffers for different variables,
WEDNESDAY 2-3:30 Session 2F: Environmental Impacts
Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Threatens California Biodiversity
Atmospheric nitrogen deposition is a process by which air pollution delivers excessive nitrogen fertilizer to ecosystems. Recognized as a "biodiversity hotspot," California supports numerous endemic taxa with narrow ranges, and that diversity is threatened by atmospheric nitrogen deposition. This GIS-based California-wide risk screening included: (1) a 36 x 36 kilometer (km) map of total Nitrogen (N)-deposition for 2002, developed from the Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ);(2) identification of sensitive habitats; (3) an overlay of the Forest Resource and Protection (FRAP) vegetation map; (4) an overlay of animal and plant species occurrence data from the California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB); (5) an initial analysis of species life history and habitat; and (6) a discussion of relevance and guidance for assessments of power plant impacts. An area of 55,000 square kilometers (km2) of California is exposed to more than 5 kilograms of N per hectare per year (kg-N ha-1 year-1), and 10,000 km2 are exposed to more than 10 kg-N ha-1 year-1. Deposition hotspots include: Los Angeles-San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, and the Sierra Nevada foothills. The major documented impact of N-deposition on California terrestrial biodiversity is to increase invasive annual grasses in low biomass ecosystems, resulting in species loss. Of 225 "threatened" and "endangered" plant taxa, 99 are exposed to an average > 5 kg-N ha-1 year -1. Of 1022 "rare" plant taxa, 290 are exposed to > 5 kg-N ha-1 year-1. Listed animal species follow similar patterns. This initial screening outlines potential impacts on California's biodiversity and provides targeted guidance for assessing the impacts of power plant and other sources of atmospheric N-deposition.
Finding "Green Solutions" to Urban Water Pollution
Los Angeles County faces an enormous challenge–how to manage the impacts of an urban environment housing nearly 10 million people on an already degraded natural ecosystem. This struggle is especially evident in the county's widespread water quality issues: every watershed in the county is currently in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act, covering the gamut of nearly 100 different pollutants. With the necessity of not only mitigating the impacts of the region's growing population, but actually improving water quality in a severely impacted water system, local jurisdictions are teaming up with environmental and community groups to find solutions that will help meet water quality standards and provide critically needed habitat, recreation, and natural open spaces. GreenInfo Network is using GIS to support a coalition of city, county, and state agencies; NGOs; and private entities to better define these "Green Solutions." GIS-based data analysis and communication mapping is intrinsic to this effort, providing essential mechanisms to (a) help build support throughout LA County's 88 individual cities for a countywide water quality funding source, (b) empower local assessment and planning through the development of a GIS desktop tool for applying water quality best practices, and (c) educate decision-makers and the general public on the magnitude of the water quality issue, the interconnectedness of the water network across land uses and jurisdictions, and, yes, even a bright side of potential solutions.
Large-Scale Mapping of the Land Use Conflicts on a Natural Landmark in a Stage of Degradation Using GIS and Remote Sensing Methods*
Clarifying the ecological aspects of nature use is one of the most important criteria for assessment of the territory's sustainable development. This is a comparatively new trend in nature sciences. The paper presents methods for creating a thematic database aimed at processing and retrieving information from remote sensing data for the purpose of analyzing and large-scale mapping of land-use conflicts for catchments mapping level. Remote sensing methods and GIS technologies make it possible to identify the areas with strongest manifestation of land use conflicts and determine their spatial parameters.
The developed methods were approbated on the territory of the Kutina catchments located in the north-west part of the Metropolitan Municipality. One of the major emphasis is placed on land use conflicts of the Kutina Pyramids natural landmark, located in the studied territory. It was announced as natural landmark in 1962. The Kutina Pyramids represent a group of earth pillars in a stage of accelerated destruction and loss of morphological expression as a result of the anthropogenic activity and lignite coal excavation, carried out in its immediate vicinity. The changes of the spatial range and manifestation of land use conflicts over a 65-year period (1940-2006) on the territory of the Kutina catchments, Metropolitan Municipality, were investigated. Local complex geomorphological analysis and monitoring of modern morphodynamics are being carried out to clarify the reasons for the pyramids' degradation.
The thematic database created for the purpose includes archive panchromatic aerial photographs and high spatial resolution satellite images for various years, large-scale topographic maps, data from terrain studies and GPS measurements, photos, thematic maps and other department databases. The data organization is based on 12 classification indicators of land-use conflicts, where each class describes specific conflict characteristics: conflict source, affected object conformity with the land use categories, arising of the conflict, manifestation, duration, development stages, development trends of the conflict, degree of the conflict's impact, shape of the outlining contours, border character, conflict groups, undertaken measures for solving the conflicts.
The information about all these main conflict parameters, required to develop land-use management plans or landscape-ecological plans, is difficult to be represented on a single map. Two groups of parameters are usually represented on the maps of conflict-situations in land-use: the sources of the conflicts and the affected objects. Based on the created thematic database and some of the classification indicators, a number of thematic cartographic models, tables, and graphs were produced. It is suggested to compose two maps: inventory and analytic. The first one represents the localization of the concrete conflict sources and the conflict areas according to the source. The second map represents areas with typical combinations of the conflicts, different development tendencies, conflict duration, conflict's shape of the outlining layout contours, border character, degree of the conflict's impact, and conflict groups.
The composed database serves as a main source of information in preparing suggestions to remove or mitigate their influence. It provides for quick retrieval of unbiased information on land use conflicts and their spatial parameters. The producing of such type of maps may be of use in landscape planning, which will help the local self-governing bodies and the natives to make everything possible for the conservation and preservation of the natural landmark.
*The study is implemented within the framework of scientific-research contract NZ–No.1507/05 concluded between SRI-BAS and Scientific Research Fund at the Ministry of Education and Science
Generalized Assessment of Environmental Degradation in Ukraine
The generalized assessment of environmental degradation is formed of estimations of its components, such as an atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Set indicators are offered for definition of a general estimation of ecological conditions for each component. An "indicator" is a numerical value derived from actual measurements of a pressure, ambient condition, exposure, or ecological condition over a specified geographic domain, whose trends over time represent or draw attention to underlying trends in the condition of the environment. All calculations and cartographical operations are executed by ArcView 3.2. Spatial analysis of the generalized assessment allows determining the most critical problems, regions and factors. Ecological management of the most critical items will give the greatest effect for the improvement of ecological condition of all territory.
Spencer Thomas Schnier
Identification of Landslide Danger in Coastal Chiapas, Mexico
The recurrence of meteorological phenomena such as landslides and the impact that they have provoked in the sierra and coast of Chiapas have motivated institutions, civil organizations and citizens to mobilize to improve their knowledge and act to confront the aforementioned events. To recognize the threat posed by landslides and identify areas with greater probability of occurrence improves the design of prevention and mitigation mechanisms. This article explains the development of two maps of landslide danger designed for the coastally located municipalities of Arriaga and Pijijiapan and also presents a methodology that resulted from an adaptation of the "Guide for the Elaboration of State and Municipal Atlases of Danger and Risk" published by the National System of Civil Protection and the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENPRED, 2004). The methodology consists of a qualitative and empirical analysis that estimates hillside susceptibility to landslides based on a set of weighted values that consider the contributions of seven variables: elevation, slope, precipitation, geology, vegetation, water accumulation and areas of recurrent landslides. The analysis was conducted using geographic information systems based on the program ArcInfo 9 from ESRI. The data from each of the variables was reclassified, and each new class received a weighted value from one to twenty given that the highest values were those factors that contributed more to landslide danger. The assigned values were adapted from the findings reported by CENAPRED (2004). Finally, a spatial summation of the seven reclassified variables was used to obtain and classify accumulated values that accurately correspond to landslide danger.
WEDNESDAY 4-5:30 Session 2G: Vegetation and Fire
Arne Brendan Purves
A Spatially Linked Fire Database as a Tool for Recording, Managing, and Monitoring Fire in the Fynbos Biome of the Western Cape, South Africa
Managing fire in the fynbos biome is a difficult and complex task at the best of times. The Fynbos biome has evolved with fire and as such needs to be managed with fire. In South Africa, fire reports are a legal requirement after each fire event in protected areas and nature reserves, especially where there has been damage to property. However, fire reports also provide critical information for ecological veld management. Veld age and fire frequencies have a huge impact on the health of the fynbos biome, as is the case in other Mediterranean shrubland vegetation types, such as the Californian chaparral. It is imperative that current veld ages are known, and the minimum fire return period is understood (usually determined by the age to production of viable seed by the slowest growing species) in order to implement correct fire cycles. Knowledge on the minimum fire return period required by the plants in a specific reserve allows us to determine thresholds of potential concern. GIS allows us to analyze all the fire reports for an area and compare the results of current veld age and previous fire return intervals (fire frequencies) with these thresholds of potential concern in order to facilitate adaptive management. This knowledge also helps us to identify sensitive areas, areas of ecological risk or of risk to infrastructure and high-value crops, which helps us to know where to allocate financial resources in managing fires. All of this is dependent on accurate spatial fire data.
CapeNature has developed a spatially explicit Fire database, written in MS Access. This database is linked to ArcView through a custom script and stores the spatial data within the database itself. This database is able to produce a shapefile in ArcView of all recorded fires, and it can calculate current fire frequencies and current veld ages. The database itself can generate the fire reports for the managers, thus increasing their productivity and decision making abilities.
Mapping Vegetation Condition in South East Australia–Innovations and Challenges
Vegetation condition at the scale of the stand or patch is a function of historical disturbance, the resistance of native vegetation to modification and the restoration capacity of native vegetation. These factors are partly deterministic and partly stochastic. The condition of this vegetation is theoretically predictable at broad scales using GIS-based deterministic modeling. However, pockets of this same vegetation may have a history of localized disturbance due to opportunistic activities such as settlement, mining exploration and access that may be stochastic in nature and therefore cannot be predicted using deterministic spatial modeling methods. This paper describes research efforts in fragmented agricultural landscapes of South-Eastern Australia to predict native vegetation condition through an integration of GIS, remote sensing and statistical modeling. To explore GIS and modeling issues, a structural, site-based vegetation condition metric known as "Biometric" was modeled across the Murray Catchment Management Area of New South Wales, Australia, for two 1:100,000 scale maps. An innovative aspect of the research is the integration of remote sensing data, captured at two scales, into the modeling framework. In addition, novel GIS-derived metrics of landscape disturbance are also included as explanatory variables. Using withholding techniques and statistical significance testing the research examines the predictive power of the vegetation condition model and it discusses the relative importance of the GIS and remotely sensed predictor variables. Results show that improvements in model performance can be gained by attaining higher spatial and thematic accuracy GIS and remote sensing data. The paper argues that a limitation of such approaches is their ability to be used as temporal vegetation condition monitoring tools owing to the selection of relatively static predictor GIS variables in the final model. In addition to the spatial modeling challenges, the paper also examines institutional issues associated with the engagement of stakeholders and the delivery of novel research outcomes to new audiences. In this project, this has been achieved through the engagement of a "Knowledge Broker" to provide an interface between researchers and natural resource managers. The Knowledge Broker has played a critical role in engaging stakeholders and ensuring research outcomes address management requirements.
Fire Information System, a Basic Need for Identifying Problem and Prioritizing Efforts in Minimizing the Impacts of Vegetation and Forest Fires in South Sumatra
Vegetation fires are becoming frequent events in Indonesia due to highly significant deforestation rate after unwise forest utilization in the early 1970. Illegal logging and an unsustainable development program have worsened the situation and led to increasing amount of fire prone logged over forests. Fire management is becoming great issue in 1997 after prolonged dry season boosted fire and haze episode in Indonesia and the region. Fire information system is one important component to support fire management system. The aim of developing fire information system is to support decision making system to define appropriate efforts in fire prevention, suppression and impact rehabilitation. Fire information system consists of 3 different types of information according to 3 components of fire management (fire prevention, fire suppression and fire impact restoration), which are fire early warning, fire monitoring and detection, and fire impact assessment. The system is using GIS for data processing and information displaying and remote sensing for input data acquisition.
Fire risk and threat mapping is part of the early warning system. It is important to have information about where we have the highest risk for fire and have reason for fire to become uncontrolled. To develop fire risk area, we have to incorporate several important factors related to fire, such as vegetation coverage, rainfall distribution and peat land distribution. The next step is weighting and scoring. Using MODIS hotspot distribution we could investigate how frequent fires or hotspots occur in particular area. This gives us the ability to score and weigh each component from those fire-related factors. The more frequent the higher is the score and risk. Finally using ModelBuilder tools from Spatial Analyst, one can easily apply the methodology and create a fire risk map. Moreover, to define which areas have potential economical and ecological values that might be threatened by fire is important for prioritizing areas to be protected. Additionally, identification of local capacities in fire suppression is crucial information that can be used by land managers for fire suppression strategic planning and resources allocation. Fire monitoring and detection using high temporal resolution imageries such as MODIS and NOAA are very useful for daily quick assessment on possible wild fire occurrences. With resolution of 250 meters, MODIS imagery can be used also for detection of burn scar areas. In Indonesia or in many tropical countries, cloud is the biggest problem to obtain a good satellite images. Therefore, with high temporal resolution, one can have more options to choose appropriate images during the end of fire season.
A Landscape Approach to Prioritizing Fire Management Objectives
Land and resource management plans are, at their core, documents that define relationships between landscapes and people. In any landscape, there are three situations with regard to communities and fire.
First, there are those situations where fire has the potential to cause great damage to people and homes and should always be excluded. Areas where wildlands come into contact with communities—the wildland-urban interface—are an example.
Second, there are places where fire can be used as a tool to reduce fuels and restore ecosystems but only under tightly prescribed conditions.
Third, there are places where fire poses little risk to people and resources, and natural fires can actually help achieve management objectives, such as fuel reduction and provision of wildlife habitat.
We recommend that federal agencies develop a landscape-scale, three-zone fire management strategy across each administrative unit that reflects these three situations, and that they incorporate these zones into all LRMPs. The "Community Fire Planning Zone" (CFPZ) exists immediately adjacent to communities and is managed for their protection. The "Wildfire Resilience Zone" (WRZ) occurs beyond the CFPZ for some distance (a few miles) and is managed to minimize unplanned fire (through suppression or containment) but also to restore conditions that are ecologically resilient to inevitable fires. Beyond those zones, the full range of management responses to fire (from suppression to allowing natural fire) is possible, but a priority is placed on Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefit (WFU). This area is called the "Fire Use Emphasis Zone" (FUEZ) to reflect the preference for WFU when conditions allow. These three planning zones can improve management of public lands by focusing resources where they are most needed and helping to restore natural processes to those lands that can benefit from the restoration of natural fire regimes. In this paper, we will present several examples of how our maps of these three zones have influenced fire management in several states across the West.