Vermont and New Hampshire
We continue to coordinate our land cover mapping with similar efforts in the other Northeast states. The goal is to complement rather than duplicate other efforts and assure that we have an accurate map that will match well with those from surrounding GAP projects. We have collected and interpreted extensive aerial videography data and are using these for supervised classification of TM imagery and for accuracy assessment. Our recent emphasis has been on a high resolution map with only six land cover types. Focal analyses of the raster coverage of this map have produced contour maps of landscape metrics that are especially suitable for modeling the distribution of vertebrates that respond to landscape-level measures. For instance, we found that harvest data for black bears correlate well with focal measures of core forest and road density.
We are assessing the use of biophysical regions (Subsections in the Bailey scheme of ecoregions) for the mapping of vertebrates, instead of counties, towns, or hexagons. Although we plan to submit a final report with hexagons as the basic units of analysis, we believe that biophysical regions provide a logical unit for predicting the distribution of species where there is uncertainty, then translating to the hexagon tessellation.
The Gap Analysis Project in Vermont and New Hampshire has finally become an important part of other efforts to assess biodiversity in these two states. New Hampshire has established a committee for ecological reserve design, and much of our GAP data and mapping expertise is being incorporated into that project. The Vermont Biodiversity Project is a similar project that has the objective of mapping potential conservation areas that will assure the protection of biological diversity. Coordinated by the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, this effort involves a long list of state, federal, private, and university cooperators. Funds for the project are being sought mostly from private foundations.
Land stewardship mapping has taken on a new dimension. Although Vermont and New Hampshire are small states, and we have reported previously that we were "nearly finished" with this task, we have now identified more than 3,000 parcels of land that should be part of our database of protected areas. Fortunately, several of our cooperators have recognized the utility of this effort and have contributed funds. We may have been "98% complete" with this task two years ago, but today we find that we are only 60% complete.
Project Information for Vermont
Project Information for New Hampshire