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Wednesday, April 11 • 1:45pm - 2:00pm
SYMPOSIA-17: Mapping Candidate Ecological Restoration Areas Using Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis (MSPA)

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AUTHORS: James Wickham*, U.S. EPA, Kurt Riitters, U.S. Forest Service, Peter Vogt, Joint Research Centre, Jennifer Costanza, North Carolina State University, Anne Neale, U.S. EPA

ABSTRACT: Morphological Spatial Pattern Analysis (MSPA) has been widely adopted by landscape ecologists over the past decade. A few examples of its many uses include: 1) quantifying landscape indicators and fragmentation in continental forest assessments, 2) explaining interior-exterior phase transitions on neutral maps, 3) mapping green infrastructure over large regions, and 4) ranking conservation potential. In this analysis, we use MSPA to identify candidate areas for ecological restoration. The methodological approach is based on the principle that landscape context is an important determinant of restoration success, and that a priori information on the likelihood of restoration success is an important component of site prioritization. We identified candidate areas for ecological restoration by applying MSPA to a binary representation (natural vegetation or not) of the 2011 National Land Cover Database (NLCD) for the continental United States followed by a series of GIS routines to identify proximal but disjunct networks of natural vegetation. The non-vegetated areas separating proximal but disjunct networks were the candidate ecological restoration areas. Seventeen (17) attributes, primarily based on geographic data available from the U.S. EPA EnviroAtlas project, were developed for the candidate ecological restoration areas. The attributes, related to site content (e.g., soil productivity) and site context (e.g., surrounding natural vegetation), were included to support use of the dataset for site prioritization. Further, the number and type of attributes included should support prioritization for many different restoration objectives. We identified over 1,000,000 candidate areas across the continental United States. We discuss examples of how the database can be used to support site prioritization, including using the dataset with information from other data portals to further customize the analysis for a more localized area. The dataset is posted on the U.S. EPA EnviroAtlas website (https://enviroatlas.epa.gov/).

Wednesday April 11, 2018 1:45pm - 2:00pm CDT
LaSalle 5 (7th Floor)