OUTDATED Indicator V 2.1: Landscapes - Resilient Biodiversity Hotspots

May 6, 2016 (Last modified Jul 8, 2019)
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Resilient Biodiversity Hotspots
This layer is an older version of one of the South Atlantic LCC indicators in the landscapes “habitat aggregate”, which is intended to capture connections across all terrestrial ecosystems. It is an index of mostly natural, high-diversity areas potentially resilient to climate change. This indicator was updated in Blueprint 2.2 to incorporate the most recent data from TNC’s Resilient Land project.

Reason for Selection
Resilience scores quantify a combination of landscape diversity and local connectedness, stratified by geophysical setting and ecoregion. These measures represent the number of microclimates available to species and the current state of the landscape. This builds on research from Anderson and Ferree (2010), who showed geophysical diversity and elevation range were associated with biodiversity in the Eastern United States. Resilience emphasizes diverse landscapes where species are likely to be able to move and adjust to changing conditions.

Input Data
-- Resilient biodiversity hotspots were quantified using The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Southeastern Terrestrial Resilience dataset (Anderson and Prince 2014). Terrestrial resilience was derived as a normalized combination of two datasets: Local Connectedness and Landscape Diversity. These two datasets were standardized by ecoregion and geophysical setting, so rankings were relative across similar ecosystems.
-- 2011 National Land Cover Database (NLCD): Used to define urban areas as described in mapping steps

Mapping Steps
Analysis on this indicator was performed using 30 m pixels. It was then converted to 200 m pixels using majority resample.

Landscape diversity ranked sites using the variety of landforms, elevation range, and wetland density (for very flat areas). Local connectedness measured natural land cover types within a 3 km radius of each cell.

1) We use TNC's SE Resilience data where it was available. Where it was not available, we filled in with TNC's NE resilience data.
2) To target specific areas for conservation, we reclassified the original continuous data layer into the seven standard deviation-based classes that TNC uses in display of the data.
3) We used the coastal zone data layer provided by TNC to remove areas in the 0-3 ft elevation zone not well captured by this dataset. These areas were changed to NoData.
4) We used 2011 NLCD to change existing urban areas to 0.

Indicator values were assigned as follows:

0 = Urban
1 = Final Resilience Score: Far below average (<-2 SD)
2 = Final Resilience Score: Below average (-1 to -2 SD)
3 = Final Resilience Score: Slightly below average (-0.5 to -1 SD)
4 = Final Resilience Score: Average (0.5 to -0.5 SD)
5 = Final Resilience Score: Slightly above average (0.5 to 1 SD)
6 = Final Resilience Score: Above average (1 to 2 SD)
7 = Final Resilience Score: Far above average (>2 SD)

Defining the Spatial Extent of Ecosystems
Landscape and waterscape indicators were defined as features that applied across all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and no refined extent was needed.

Known Issues
-- Does not explicitly account for threats from sea-level rise; therefore, following the recommendation of the data developers, we removed areas in the 0-3 ft elevation zone.
-- Does not account for the occurrence and timing of natural disturbance processes, particularly fire. Without fire, resilient sites in many ecosystems will not serve as biodiversity hotspots. This is particularly problematic in the pine and prairie ecosystem and the shortleaf pine/Piedmont prairie component of the upland hardwood ecosystem.

Disclaimer: Comparing with Older Indicator Versions
While this indicator has changed since the version of resilient biodiversity hotspots used in Blueprint 2.0, this only reflects differences in the way it was calculated and should not be compared to measure change over time.

Indicator Overview
The South Atlantic ecosystem indicators serve as the South Atlantic LCC's metrics of success and drive the identification of priority areas for shared action in the Conservation Blueprint. To learn more about the indicators and how they are being used, please visit the indicator page. Check out the Blueprint page for more information on the development of the Blueprint, a living spatial plan to conserve our natural and cultural resources.

Literature Cited
Anderson, M.G., A. Barnett, M. Clark, C. Ferree, A. Olivero Sheldon, and J., Prince., 2014. Resilient Sites for Terrestrial Conservation in the Southeast Region. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Conservation Science. 127 pp.

Anderson, M.G., Ferree, C.E., 2010. Conserving the stage: climate change and the geophysical underpinnings of species diversity. PLoS One 5, e11554.

Homer, C.G., Dewitz, J.A., Yang, L., Jin, S., Danielson, P., Xian, G., Coulston, J., Herold, N.D., Wickham, J.D., and Megown, K., 2015, Completion of the 2011 National Land Cover Database for the conterminous United States-Representing a decade of land cover change information. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, v. 81, no. 5, p. 345-354.

Data Provided By:
South Atlantic LCC
Data Hosted by:
ScienceBase (USGS) View Record
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Content date:
2016-05-06 (Acquisition)
Contact Organization:
South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The indicator data and maps provided are only intended for use as a reference tool for landscape-level conservation planning efforts.
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SouthAtlantic LCC
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The South Atlantic LCC encompasses and ecologically diverse 89 million acres across portions of six states, from southern Virginia to northern Florida. The geography also includes the marine environment within the federal Exclusive Economic Zone The South Atlantic region is a place where major urban...