Rapid measurement of ecological integrity may 10 2012
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Rapid Measurement of Ecological Integrity May 10, 2012. [. ]. Measuring Habitat/Biodiversity Outcomes Across Jurisdictions and Scales. A broad partnership is developing tools to address:. Measuring aspects of biodiversity condition Metrics for tracking biodiversity outcomes

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Rapid Measurement of Ecological Integrity May 10, 2012

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Rapid Measurement of Ecological IntegrityMay 10, 2012

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Measuring Habitat/Biodiversity Outcomes Across Jurisdictions and Scales


A broad partnership is developing tools to address:

  • Measuring aspects of biodiversity condition

  • Metrics for tracking biodiversity outcomes

  • Consistent approach

  • Practical design

  • Sharing of tools and data


Key questions for establishing habitat metrics


Nested hierarchy of ecological units

United States

7 biomes

47 ecoregions

191 macrogroups (NVC)

Terrestrial ecological systems and land cover of the coterminous US, map produced by NatureServe

826 ecological systems


Users of Ecological Systems and USNVC Classifications


Which ones are targets for action?(examples)

Wetlands (mitigation)

Priority ecosystems and habitats for regulated species (planning and mitigation)

Longleaf pine forests; fire stressed ecosystems (restoration)

Habitats on state wildlife management areas (restoration and planning)


How are they faring?Ecological integrity

  • The ability of an ecological system to support and maintain a community of organisms that has species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to those of natural habitats within a region

  • Define goals and objectives related to ecological integrity for:

    • Land management

    • Restoration and mitigation

    • Conservation metrics


Ecological integrity

Increasing ecological integrity

Rank A

Rank B

Rank C

Rank D

Increasing disturbance

Adapted from Faber-Langendoen et al. 2008


Excellent integrity – A rank

  • Highest quality sites

  • Unfragmented landscape

  • Landscape area larger than minimum dynamic area

  • Exemplary size (e.g., area-dependent species)

  • Biotic/abiotic components well within natural range of variability

  • Invasives largely absent

  • Natural processes in place


Poor integrity – D rank

  • Severely altered characteristics

  • Highly fragmented

  • Landscape well below minimum dynamic area

  • Size is small, e.g. unable to sustain area-dependent species.

  • Biotic/abiotic components severely altered from natural range of variability

  • Invasives abundant


Setting Ecological Integrity Goals

Ecosystem Conservation Goal

Increasing ecological integrity

Rank A

Rank B

Rank C

Rank D

Increasing human disturbance


Ecological Integrity Monitoring

Level 1) Remote assessment

Level 2) Rapid field assessment

Level 3) Intensive assessment


Overall components of ecological integrity assessment

Level 1

Remote Sensing Assessment

ID reference sites

Landscape context metrics

Supplement status & trend plots

Level 2

Rapid Assessment

Verify reference sites

Condition & buffer metrics

Stressors

Supplement S&T plots

Level 3

Intensive Assessment

Verify reference sites

Condition metrics

Sample design, S&T plots


Level 1: Remote assessment

Landscape context – Connectivity, surrounding land use, patch size, and stressors


Level 1: Remote assessment


Level 2: Rapid field assessment

  • Landscape characteristics

  • Vegetation cover and composition

  • Soil condition

  • Disturbance regimes

  • Wildlife abundance and composition

  • Stressors

  • Calibration of remote techniques


Level 2: Rapid field assessment

Photo plots as example

1957

2006


Level 3: Intensive assessment


Level 3: Intensive assessment

  • Landscape characteristics

  • Vegetation cover and composition

  • Soil condition

  • Disturbance regimes

  • Wildlife abundance and composition

  • Stressors

  • Calibration of remote and rapid techniques


Steps to Implementation

  • Conduct assessment of current condition to determine ecological integrity

  • Identify limiting factors

  • Choose goal desired for site

  • Determine desired ecological conditions to meet the Ecological Integrity goal

  • Establish relevant Tier 1-3 monitoring design based on desired conditions

  • Collect data – conduct evaluation


Ongoing partnerships to test and implement EIAs

Wetlands restoration and measuring changes in wetlands nationally

Assessment of habitat condition and management of ecosystem stressors

Management and restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems; fire management nationwide

Define conservation goals and measure management effectiveness


Application of Ecological Integrity Monitoring and Evaluation

Examples from State of Washington

  • WDFW Grazing Program

  • WDFW Wildlife Areas – Habitat Conservation Plans

  • State Wildlife Action Plan

  • EPA wetland condition assessments

  • Biodiversity Monitoring

  • Citizen Science


Working in partnership, we can realize these benefits…


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