Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Like that Wetland Near You? New Study Predicts Risk of Wetland Habitat Loss in Southern United States

20.05.2011
Baylor University, in collaboration with the U.S Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station, has developed a model that predicts the risk of wetland habitat loss based on local wetland features and characteristics of the landscape surrounding the wetland. The new model was used to predict the fate of wetland habitats over a 13-state area in the southern United States and was published in the journal Ecological Applications.

“Because conservation resources are scarce, it is essential to focus conservation efforts on those geographic areas where the risks for further wetland habitat loss are the greatest,” said Dr. Kevin Gutzwiller, professor of biology at Baylor who co-authored the study with the USFS. “Our predictive model can be used to plan protection efforts by helping to prioritize wetland areas for conservation. The model also can be used to assess the effectiveness of current wetland conservation programs.”

Wetlands are crucial habitats for many plants and animals, yet many are converted for other human land uses. In fact, according to government figures, between 1992 and 1997, more than 500,000 acres of wetlands were lost in the United States. Seventy-five percent of those losses were attributed to development or agriculture. The greatest loss during this period occurred in the southern United States, with development as the main reason for wetland habitat loss.

The researchers focused their study on the southern United States since in that region urbanization and housing development increased at a greater rate than in any other region in the country from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. Moreover, the southern United States also has nearly half the nonfederal wetlands occurring in the contiguous United States, and is the region where the majority of wetland acreage was converted during the 1990s.

The study authors used data obtained from the National Resources Inventory and from the National Land Cover Data from 1992 to 1997. They randomly selected 70 percent of the more than 40,000 observation points to build the model and randomly divided the remaining 30 percent of the data into five separate test data sets.

The study found:

• The variables that best predicted wetland habitat loss were:
o Land-cover and land-use of the surrounding landscape
o Size and proximity of patches of development within 1,900 feet of the wetland
o Road density within 1,900 feet of the wetland
o Land ownership
o The percent of the landscape within 1,900 feet of the wetland that was covered by woody and herbaceous wetland.

• The results imply that the risk of wetland habitat loss was most strongly associated with conditions at or within 1,900 feet of a wetland site.

• For the five test data sets, the statistics indicated the researchers’ model had substantial predictive ability across the study region.

• The model predicted that the risk of wetland habitat loss was greater in and near highlands, such as the Appalachian Mountains, and the Boston and the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The risk of wetland habitat loss was typically lower in much of the lowlands, such as the Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Basin.

• Throughout the study area, higher predicted risks of wetland habitat loss occurred in and near large urban areas.

“Wetland fate is thought to be influenced by both local and landscape-level processes, and for this reason, we defined two sets of predictors: local predictors that were derived directly from the National Resources Inventory; and landscape predictors derived from the 1992 National Land Cover Data that characterized land-use and land-cover in the vicinity of wetland points,” said Dr. Curtis Flather, study co-author and research wildlife biologist with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station.

“Because of their topographic and edaphic characteristics, highlands are likely to be better drained than are lowlands. Wetlands situated in highlands may therefore be less extensive and more isolated than wetlands situated in lowlands. Although the Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions were characterized as having generally lower risks of wetland conversion relative to the highlands, there are notable areas of high risk interspersed throughout these regions,” Flather said.

The study was funded by research joint venture agreements between the USFS, Rocky Mountain Research Station and Baylor University.

For more information, contact Matt Pene, assistant director of media communications at Baylor, at (254) 710-4656 or Jennifer Hayes, acting public affairs officer at USFS, Rocky Mountain Research Station, at (970) 498-1370.

Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.baylor.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>