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Final Report Summary: Wyoming Gap Analysis Project

Tom Kohley
University of Wyoming, Laramie

The Wyoming Gap Analysis project (WY-GAP) recently completed its assessment of biological resources for the state. Our results show that less than 10% of the state of Wyoming is classified as Status 1 and 2 lands, and 90% of these lands occur in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). Seven of the 41 land cover types occur at high elevations and are well (> 50%) protected in Wyoming because they occur in national parks and wilderness areas. Sixteen (44%) of 36 natural (nonanthropogenic) land cover types have < 1% or < 50,000 ha of the area they occupy in Status 1 and 2 lands. The highest priority for further protection is recommended for vegetated dunes, active dunes, forest-dominated riparian, shrub-dominated riparian, and grass-dominated wetlands because their current protection is low, and they are the most vulnerable to ongoing land management practices. However, wetland types are not satisfactorily mapped at our current MMU, and further efforts are needed to provide an adequate spatial description of their location before long-term planning for their conservation can be accomplished.

On average, a smaller percentage of the potential habitat of amphibians (8.8%) and reptiles (2.6%) occurs in Status 1 and 2 lands than either birds (14.4% ) or mammals (14.5%). Species that have a high level of habitat protection (> 50%) were restricted to the GYA. Habitats of 6 (50 %) amphibians, 8 (31%) reptiles, 25 (22%) mammals, and 41 (14%) birds that are not considered peripheral in Wyoming merit increased management attention. The habitat of most of these species is primarily at low elevations in the eastern portion of the state or in the Green River area where Status 1 and 2 lands are uncommon. Management on multiple-use lands under the stewardship of the USFS in the Black Hills and the BLM in the Green River area, and cooperative efforts with private land owners in both the eastern portion of the state and in the Green River area, will be important to the long-term conservation of a large number of vertebrate gap species in Wyoming. However, we found that additional efforts to survey and map bat and rodent species will be necessary to reliably evaluate their current status.

For more information on the results of the Wyoming Gap Analysis, please obtain a digital copy of the report from the Wyoming Bioinformation Node web site at http://www.sdvc.uwyo.edu/wbn. If you have questions or would like a hard copy of the report, please contact Tom Kohley at (307) 766-2734 or kohley@uwyo.edu.

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