About This Project
Open woodlands dominated by southern yellow pine were historically a large component of the landscape across the southeastern United States. These woodlands have an open canopy of longleaf, slash, shortleaf, and/or loblolly pines, with scattered shrubs and a grassy understory. These southern open pine ecosystems support many species of wildlife, many of which have declined in recent years as the amount and condition of their habitat has declined. This troubling decline in wildlife species has led to a focus on regional conservation efforts by America’s Longleaf, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, state wildlife agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, National Bobwhite Quail Initiative, regional Bird Conservation Joint Ventures, The Nature Conservancy, the Shortleaf Pine Initative, and other conservation partners. These groups all agree that there is a need for more high quality open pine acreage, and an efficient, agreed upon, way to identify those tracts that are providing the best habitat for key wildlife species.
In 2016, NatureServe in partnership with the Gulf Coastal Plain and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCPO LCC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture developed desired forest condition Version 1.0 southern open pine rapid assessment metrics to measure wildlife habitat value and ecological integrity of tracts of land, with a primary focus on lands being managed primarily for conservation.
In 2018, NatureServe released updated, version 2.0 southern open pine rapid assessment metrics. These metrics have been improved through work in partnership with the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, the US Forest Service (National Forests in South Carolina), Environmental Defense Fund, and two NatureServe Network partners; Florida Natural Areas Inventory, and Alabama Natural Heritage Program.
These desired forest condition metrics help conservation-minded landowners and land managers understand how their properties are contributing to the habitat needs of priority wildlife of southern open pine ecosystems.
The project’s two primary goals were to:
1) Develop metrics to measure open pine wildlife habitat and ecological health based on peer-reviewed literature, original research, and expert input and
2) Summarize metrics in an easy to use, rapid assessment protocols document for use by those managing open pine stands primarily for conservation.
This tool allows land managers to quickly assess stand-scale ecological health.
Efficiently monitoring extent of fire and fire effects in the South Atlantic LCC
As part of the project funded by the South Atlantic LCC, NatureServe has developed a number of key products for use by conservation professionals in the Southeast U.S. These products include the following:
Open pine rapid assessment metrics/field guide 2.0
Fire spatial footprint geodatabase
Fire Spatial Footprint White Paper with suggested next steps
In addition, the project supported data acquisition and management of open pine rapid assessment vegetation data. That data is now housed in an EcoObs database at NatureServe and is being used to continue to test out and refine the rapid assessment metrics.
Fire Spatial Footprint Geodatabase
Prescribed fire is an important land management tool in the southeastern U.S., and especially within the area of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The maintenance and restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems requires prescribed fire to promote longleaf pine, associated grasses and a diversity of wildlife. Prescribed fire also benefits other ecosystems in the region, and it serves to reduce dangerous wildland fuels in a planned manner, reducing wildfire risk to lives and property. NatureServe has coordinated and built a spatial database of prescribed fires in the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative area. This work has been done with many partners, Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) worked with NatureServe to develop the data schema and to facilitate sharing of the spatial data from many data contributors. We thank these data contributors:
Camp Blanding Joint Training CenterFlorida State ParksFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesMecklenburg County Natural Resources (NC)National Park ServiceNorth Carolina State ParksNorth Carolina Wildlife Resource CommissionTall Timbers Research StationThe Nature Conservancy, North CarolinaUS Fish & Wildlife ServiceUS Forest Service United States Air Force (DoD)United States Army (DoD)
These data contributors have helped NatureServe to assemble a regional prescribed fire spatial database which goes back more than a decade. It is an Esri (ArcGIS 10.5) file geodatabase with data in the projection: USA Contiguous Albers Equal Area Conic USGS version. Data schema is also provided.
Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.
Potential Metadata Source