State Reports - New York
During 1996/97, the major focus of the New York Gap Analysis Project (NY-GAP) continued to be upon developing and validating an up-to-date land cover map for New York State, using multitemporal Thematic Mapper imagery. We met with plant ecologists of the New York Natural Heritage Program to discuss our procedures and plans for combining some community associations into alliances and superalliances, following the National Vegetation Classification System. Identifying alliances within the mix of northeastern deciduous forest types in the fragmented landscape of New York State remains challenging, but we continue to make progress. Very productive collaborative and cooperative efforts continue with the NY Natural Heritage Program and our New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
Other highlights of our work during 1996/97 include establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Northeast Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service to work collaboratively with forest inventory plot data. This MOU provides a mechanism for access to data from approximately 3000 randomly located forest plots across NY that are surveyed periodically by USFS. This information will be useful in helping us to identify and validate forest alliances for vegetation mapping.
An additional 73,028 records of occurrence were added to our coverage for the mammals of NY. Our mammals database now includes 98,833 records, spanning the period from 1834 through the present, with 68,590 records of occurrence since 1965. This is the first time such an extensive, comprehensive, and spatially referenced database has been developed for the mammals of NY. With cooperation from NYSDEC, an additional 15,926 records of occurrence were added to our amphibians and reptiles coverage, bringing the total records in that database to 20,334. This information results from an ongoing herpetological atlas coordinated by NYSDEC, begun in 1990 and scheduled to be completed by the year 2000.
A contract was established with NYSDEC to provide funding for more detailed mapping of land cover for the Hudson Valley corridor, between Albany and New York City. A gap analysis of this region will be performed to provide information to facilitate conservation planning and decision making for this fast-growing region of NY, with an objective of maintaining or enhancing biodiversity for the region.
Plans were initiated for the second NY Breeding Bird Atlas, scheduled to begin in 1999. This project will be fully integrated with our NY Gap Analysis and will provide up-to-date information about the breeding birds of the state and an updated breeding bird coverage for future GAP efforts. The project is expected to require 5-6 field seasons and be completed by 2004. The first NY Breeding Bird Atlas was conducted from 1979 through 1984 and published in 1988. Completion of NY-GAP is anticipated near the end of 1998.
Smith, C.R., and S.K. Gregory. In press. Bird Habitats in New York State. Invited chapter in forthcoming book, Birds of New York State. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.
Wairimu, S. 1996. Spatial analysis of white-tailed deer wintering habitat in central New York. Ph.D. Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 238 pp.
Weber, J.T. 1997. Development and use of a landscape-scale habitat quality index and a conceptual model for measurement of red fox density. M.S. Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 143 pp.