GIS Analysis: Priority Conservation Areas


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Final Project, GIS Certificate, U C Riverside Extension, Final Project. Inventoried Roadless Areas, Old Growth Forest and Western Spotted Owl Habitat in Washington State

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GIS Analysis: Priority Conservation Areas

  1. 1. Identifying Priority Conservation Areas within US Forest Service Inventoried Roadless Areas Washington State North Cascades Mountain Range Demian Rybock 2003
  2. 2. Project Description <ul><li>Discuss the history behind Inventoried Roadless Areas and the reason they are a concern for environmentalists. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at three National Forests of Washington State. </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss targeting Northern Spotted Owl Habitat and Late Successional / Old Growth Forests as Priority Conservation Areas within Inventoried Roadless Areas. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Identify Priority Conservation Areas. </li></ul>
  3. 3. History The National Wilderness Preservation System <ul><li>The National Wilderness Preservation System was established by Congress in 1964 under the Wilderness Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation set aside certain federal lands as wilderness areas. These areas, generally 5,000 acres or larger, are wild lands in their natural state, “… where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately 34.7 million acres are on the National Forest Service lands and they retain the highest level of forest ecosystem preservation on Forest Service lands. </li></ul>
  4. 4. History … Inventoried Roadless Areas <ul><li>In 1972, the National Forest Service initiated a review of roadless areas larger than 5,000 acres to determine their suitability for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress has designated some roadless areas as Wilderness. </li></ul><ul><li>Some have continued to retain roadless characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>Some have had roads built or other management activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Today, there are approximately 58.5 million acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA) managed by the Forest Service. </li></ul>
  5. 5. History … The Roadless Area Conservation Rule <ul><li>The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was published on January 12, 2001 and provided management direction for Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA). </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibits new road construction and reconstruction in IRAs. </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibits cutting, sale, and removal of timber in IRAs. </li></ul>
  6. 6. History … Amendment to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule <ul><li>The Bush Administration intends to propose a nationwide amendment to the Roadless Rule in the fall and finalize it by the end of 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>The amendment will completely exempt Alaska’s Tongass and Chugach National Forests from the rule. </li></ul><ul><li>Governors may seek relief for “exceptional circumstances.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protecting human health and safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing hazardous fuels and restoring essential wildlife habitats </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. History … Exceptions to the proposed amendment <ul><li>Exceptions to the proposed amendment include: </li></ul><ul><li>Wilderness Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Special Designated Areas: National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic Historic Trails and Research Areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical habitat for species listed under the Endangered Species Act and the National Forest Management Act. </li></ul>
  8. 14. Identify Priority Conservation Areas based on the presence of Northern Spotted Owl Habitat and Late Successional / Old Growth Forests
  9. 15. Late Successional / Old Growth Forests <ul><li>Over the hundreds, if not thousands, of years in which a forest progresses from young to mature to old growth, the structure and composition of plant and animal communities changes. </li></ul><ul><li>Old growth forests contain unique assemblages of plants and animals, environmental conditions and ecological processes that are not found in younger forests or managed forests. </li></ul>
  10. 16. Late Successional / Old Growth Forests <ul><li>It is estimated that there were 6-8 million hectares of old growth forests in Oregon and Washington in the early 1800’s. </li></ul><ul><li>In the early 1980’s approximately 0.59 million hectares remained on national forests. </li></ul><ul><li>Today, less than 13-18% of the original amount of old growth forest remain in Washington State. </li></ul>
  11. 19. Northern Spotted Owl (strix occidentalis caurina) <ul><li>Listed in Washington as “threatened” in 1993 under the Endangered Species Act. </li></ul><ul><li>An endangered species is any plant or animal species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. </li></ul>
  12. 20. Northern Spotted Owl (strix occidentalis caurina) <ul><li>Northern Spotted Owls reside primarily in old growth forests. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1992 and 2002, the number of owls in Washington has dropped by 5-8% annually, even though the USFS tightened logging practices on public lands nearly a decade ago with the 1993 Northwest Forest Plan. </li></ul><ul><li>US Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to finish a status review by the end of the year that could lead to a recommendation that the owl be listed as “endangered.” </li></ul><ul><li>Continued logging of habitat will further endanger the species. </li></ul>
  13. 25. Additional layers for subsequent analysis: <ul><li>Presence/absence of wetlands </li></ul><ul><li>Degree of late successional forest development </li></ul><ul><li>Index of size, configuration and connectivity of late successional forest patches </li></ul><ul><li>Rarity of vegetation types with respect to overall abundance </li></ul><ul><li>Density and proximity of roads </li></ul><ul><li>Distance from major streams and rivers </li></ul><ul><li>Index of size of roadless/unmanaged regions </li></ul>