Community-based observational sampling of ecological habitats to validate and refine centralized databases of remotely sensed data. Centralized databases typically suffer from inaccuracies and lack of currency, particularly at fine spatial scales. The NatureMapping project has demonstrated the extent to which communities of volunteers can improve the accuracy of centralized data associated with habitat distribution and associated biodiversity. Related benefits of the work include enhanced public awareness of local habitat and input to land use policy development.
The projects are the collaboration of the University of Washington College of the Environment NatureMapping Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Waterville School District, and Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance.
The NatureMapping Inventory project 1) assesses the quality of land cover (habitats) characterized by the National GAP Analysis Program using remote sensing, and 2) uses GAP's predicted terrestrial wildlife range distribution maps to develop baseline biodiversity inventories to conduct long-term monitoring for future GAP updates. Two examples are the Adopt-a-Farmer Project, and the Pierce County Biodiversity Network. The Biodiversity Networks contain the remaining "best of the best" habitats within individual counties for their long-term biodiversity planning by counties and cities and at the same time citizens conduct habitat assessment and monitoring within those Networks. The Adopt-a-Farmer Project began when the GAP maps did not predict Short-horned lizards (aka Horny toads) to occur in the Waterville Plateau based on 96 historic records and expert review. Local farmers and students collected over 700 sightings proving the range maps needed updating (Range maps before in gray and after in green). The second project assesses the Pierce County Biodiversity Network created using GAP maps for all species predicted to occur within a county. Bioblitzes (e.g., 24-hour rapid assessment for all species) are conducted to develop baseline inventories using GAP species lists followed by community involvement in developing stewardship plans and long-term monitoring, then by adjusting Network boundaries at a finer scale than GAP. All species data are sent to the NatureMapping statewide database which are then provided for re-GAP efforts.
|14 Oct 2009||Nature Mapping is the subject of the Earthzine article Filling in the Gaps: Citizen Scientists Monitor Local Biodiversity|
|Project Lead||Karen Dvornich (email@example.com)|
The predicted distribution range of the Short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii) is depicted in gray throughout Douglas County, WA. The updated range is in green. The point locations are sightings by the farmers.
The Pierce County Biodiversity Network consists of 16 Biodiversity Management Areas and river/shoreline corridors.