NSST 2017-2, Information needs to inform net landscape change assessment and cost-effective habitat allocation decision-making

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NSST 2017-2 Report Cover



Initially, we considered reviewing a variety of habitat types (wetlands and coastal habitats, forest, and grassland and scrub-shrub) to assess net landscape change assessment information needs. For some of these habitat groupings it appeared that alternate sources of data allowed for cost-effective, alternative approaches to assessing changes in landscape composition. Eventually, we gravitated to a set of key habitat elements viewed as showing the greatest need for such information. Those elements resulted in the following identified needs: 

1. Fulfill agency mandates to update NWI 
2. Improve classification and quality assessment of grassland and shrubland habitats 
3. Increase communication with NRCS NRI regarding data needs and accessibility 
4. Increase opportunities to update NLCD 

Our objective for this whitepaper was to focus efforts to pursue data where alternate sources do not provide the requisite information to assess landscape composition change. Each section presents a brief description of limitations of existing data, what data is needed and at what resolution, the importance and value the desired data holds for JV conservation planning with examples showing how JVs intend to use the data in their net landscape change assessments and ultimately its value in habitat allocation decision making. To the extent possible, this will be supplemented with cost estimates.

In each section, we provide recommendations for the US NABCI committee to consider in their efforts to interact with agency leaders to address the paucity of information limiting more transparent and effective habitat conservation delivery. Those ten recommendations are summarized immediately below