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Nature. Serve’s Decision Support System Project ALDO
Nature. Serve’s Mission To develop, manage and distribute authoritative information critical to the conservation of the world’s biological diversity.
Nature. Serve • Network of knowledge about the diversity of life • More than 70 Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers • Nature. Serve Central Office: 90 staff advancing the network: data, analysis, tools for decision making
The Natural Heritage Network Puerto Rico US Virgin Islands 50 U. S. States 10 Canadian provinces 12 LAC Countries
Nature. Serve Data • Data on the precise location of plants, animals, and ecological communities • More than 100, 000 data requests network-wide per year
Hot Spots of Species Richness and Rarity
Supporting Federal Programs DOT Office of Pipeline Safety element analysis tool.
Supporting Conservation Organizations • Nature. Serve data, information, and tools enable conservation organizations to make better use of science in decision-making Sonoran Desert Ecoregion
Information for the Public: Nature. Serve Explorer
ALDO Planning Context • Increasing competition and conflict over public and private land use. • Need to achieve multiple goals for same open lands. • Moderate support for regulation but increasing commitment for open-space acquisition funds ($100 -900 million/yr fed, $19. 3 billion 1998 -2001 state and local). • Citizens want multiple values from open space: • Community character & passive recreation • Improved environmental health • Farmland preservation • “Nature” conservation
The Need 1) Organizations with a conservation mandate and resources lack the information and tools to act effectively • Public agencies: federal, state, local, tribal and regional • Private organizations: – – Foundations Environmental NGO’s Land trusts National and international development institutions
The Need (cont. ) 2) Land use planners lack information and tools to make informed decisions with a direct impact on biodiversity • Public planning agencies: federal, regional, state, county, watershed, municipal • Private consulting organizations that serve planners 3) Natural Heritage Programs and their information are often used at the end of the planning and design process rather than upfront during comprehensive planning. Solutions are both political and technical
The Opportunity The combination of: • • • Increasing community interest in the protection of biodiversity GIS technologies Data quality and availability Element distribution modeling techniques The Internet as a delivery platform Nature. Serve’s distributed network of expertise Provides the opportunity to place biodiversity conservation on equal footing with other land use considerations through a service and software solution.
Technical Solutions: From Data to DSS • Biodiversity data alone are not sufficient. • The challenge: to integrate biological, physical, and socioeconomic data within the decision frameworks of the planning process. • Powerful new decision support tools allow us to do this. *
ALDO Objectives • Deliver sufficient conservation information for action in an interactive decision-making framework. • Empower communities to be forward looking and make informed decisions about their quality of life and conservation of their natural heritage. • Make conservation science and spatial data analyses available to the non-expert. • Integrate biological, geophysical, and socioeconomic data, knowledge, and models. • Deliver functionality in the form of a professional software application which is easily updated, maintained, supported, and interoperable with other relevant tools.
ALDO: A Preview • A decision support system to help inform land use and conservation planning. • Designed to help avoid conflict by bringing conservation considerations into the early stages of the land use planning process. • Being developed by Nature. Serve in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, USGS, ESRI, the Florida and Wyoming Heritage Programs and others. • Initial funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Nature Conservancy. • Guided by an advisory panel representing state, county, city, NGO, and other perspectives.
From Data to DSS • Biodiversity data alone are not sufficient • The challenge: to integrate biological, physical, and socioeconomic data and transform it into useful information and knowledge • Powerful new decision support tools allow us to do this *
Data Standards Critical to DSS Data from Everywhere Nature. Serve/NHP USGS/Natl State/Local Filter-Labor-Time-$ Biodiversity Resources Database One data model Custom data bases Custom data bases Many custom DBs Desktop DSS User Desktop DSS User Many tool users
Analysis Process Biodiversity exploration & education Element selection & ranking/ goals Biodiversity Database Conservation suitability Land use change scenarios Reporting visualization and export to external decision process Guidance: goals met or how to meet Scenario Evaluation Biodiversity Economic Conservation Scenario
Prototype Scenario • User interface prototype was developed to explore and illustrate concepts • The client: Land Trust of Napa County • The need: develop the 10 year strategic plan to protect critical biological and ecological resources within the large planning context
Verify/Add Data Sources • Verify biodiversity and geographic data sources • Override defaults • Provide additions, e. g. Vernal Pools Important role for FGDC
Select Biodiversity Elements of Importance • Biodiversity Elements: – Species (plant, animal) – Ecological Community – Biophysical habitat • Select Elements by Category, e. g. – Legally protected – Conservation importance • Or individually (custom selection)
Complete Setup • Provide project goals (e. g. comprehensive plan for the county) and contact information • User will be notified when custom-built biodiversity database is available for download
ALDO System Browser Request ALDO Consulting Services Other Local Experts Internet ALDO Web Server Land Use Planner Custom Biod DB ALDO End User Tool: Explore, Integrate, Evaluate Custom Biod. DB Best Available Data Sources ALDO Internal Tools: Assemble DB Tools side Services side
Custom Biodiversity Database For each selected element, database provides • Description of the element (e. g. viability requirements) • Predicted range map over the jurisdiction – Conservation value (range-wide context) – Confidence index Aggregate into a composite “Biodiversity Value” map
Information Sources Extant Sources Biological distributions Geophysical data Socioeconomic data Modeled distributions Requirements/status Nature. Serve Default targets Default values Element occurrence Element status Element requirements Modeled distributions Local Experts Mapped distributions Local conditions/status Local requirements User Input Targets Values Policies Scenarios Places
Heritage Data for Napa County: CA Natural Diversity Database • Distribution of rare and sensitive plants and animals in Napa County • Specific spatial and general habitat information • Somewhat biased as some areas not been sampled
Other Sources of Conservation Targets: California Native Plant Society Records • • Source: Napa County Dept of Building and Planning with county botanists From mylar sheets sitting on top of topo maps Now digital linked with information on each record Totals nearly 900 species locations; 100 types of species
Other Sources of Conservation Targets • • • Northern Spotted Owl data acquired from Fish and Game, 1999 data – Includes attributes such as number of breeding pairs, number of adults, and subadults. Vernal pool data from Dr. Bob Holland Jake Rugyt Frog data are red and yellow frogged distributions acquired from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley Northern spotted owl Vernal pool Red-Legged Frog
Land Cover • • National Land Cover Database Napa in detail – – • Orange: high residential areas Yellow: forest patches However, this is a national dataset so the classes for Napa might not be appropriate
Other Modeling/Analysis Inputs • Elevation (dark green is lower), rivers and lakes • Geology • Roadlessness (dark blue is more intact)
Aggregated Biodiversity Value • Spatial representation of Biodiversity Value across the entire planning area. • Retains individual spatial importance values for each conservation target.
Biodiversity Value Layer • High quality • Consistent and Transparent • Appropriate scale • Drawn from local knowledge and expertise (Heritage and others)
Deliver Result to Client Internet Custom ALDO End User Tool: Explore, Integrate, Evaluate Biod DB Land Use Planner ALDO Web Server Custom Biod. DB ALDO Internal Tools: Consulting Services Assemble DB • With help from internal toolset • Consulting group assembles aggregate and detailed biodiversity and conservation data • Delivered to client via download from ALDO web site
ALDO Feature Set • Explore My Biodiversity – What do I have, where is it, what condition is it in? – What are the relationships between many or all element ranges? • Conservation planning – Combine biodiversity value with other planning considerations – Understand conflict and opportunity – Create, analyze and compare scenarios • Impact Analysis – Submit a land-use proposal or conservation plan – Understand implications for biodiversity
Explore My Biodiversity • ALDO application allows client to explore the custom-built database interactively • Build maps, queries and reports • Intuitively conveys conservation priorities • User can customize elements and element ranking then recalculate biodiversity value
Explore My Biodiversity • Drill down from summary reports or maps. • Down to detailed description of element information specific to Napa County. • Understand range, confidence in range, protected range, etc. ***
Conservation Planner • Begins with biodiversity value • Add other planning considerations • Derive conservation suitability • Set goals and thresholds • Derive conservation plan
Add Other Planning Considerations Opportunities & constraints • Proximity to existing protected lands • Roadlessness • Land-use adjacency effects • Areas desired for development/infrastructure • Land value **
Derive Conservation Suitability • Uses biodiversity value and other specified considerations – Dark green = high conservation suitability – Brown = low conservation suitability • Shows areas of – Conflict (e. g. high biodiversity value with high economic value) – Opportunity (e. g. high biodiversity value with low economic value)
Establish Goals for Conservation Plan • User can accept expertdefined goals – E. g. “Protect all high quality known occurrences for all G 2 elements” • Or define their own – “Active maps” explores implications • Goals based on other considerations can also be incorporated – E. g. “Given economic data, spend no more than $X” ******
Calculate Conservation Plan • Uses conservation suitability • Expert and user-defined goals • Allocates parcels (user defined unit) to meet goals – Red = must capture – Blue = an allocation that will meet goals – Subtract a blue parcel and rerun calculation for new solution
Scenario Evaluation User submits a particular land use plan e. g. 5000 acres of new vineyard development *
Scenario Evaluation: Result • Map of aggregated biodiversity impact • List of impacted elements with details on range • Detailed maps for impacted elements (not shown) *
ALDO Evolution • ALDO capabilities are a function of science, data, technology, user needs and conservation impact opportunities, all of which will evolve • ALDO will incorporate new capabilities in versions – Science: E. g. alternative aggregation analyses – Data: E. g. better and more widely available vegetation mapping and element occurrences – Technology: E. g. 3 D visualization, integration with planning systems, etc. • Users may subscribe to automatically receive data and software updates
Future: 3 D Visualization • Simulates realistic views of user jurisdiction • For instance, user can view proposed protected areas over actual elevation • Terrain may be based on actual elevation or output of analysis (e. g. biodiversity value)
Summary of Benefits • Brings best available data sources and expertise together in a standardized database • Scale supports land use planning decisions • Database is interactive and can be updated over time • Allows users to put biodiversity on equal footing with other land use considerations
What is the Market? Assumptions: Counties with a need and pressure to do biodiversity conservation planning • Counties with above average increase in proportion and actual population 1990 -2000. • Counties with at least one species with any federal status. • Green counties are in the top quartile for population and have at least 1 protected animal species. 1062 counties 552 counties