Broad-scale assessments of ecological landscapes—Developing methods and applications

Product Type: 

Fact Sheet




Carr, N.B., D.J.A. Wood, Z.H. Bowen, and T.S. Haby

Suggested Citation: 

Carr, N.B., D.J.A. Wood, Z.H. Bowen, and T.S. Haby. 2015. Broad-scale assessments of ecological landscapes—Developing methods and applications. Fact Sheet 2015–3007. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. 4 p.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Landscape Approach for managing multiple uses of public lands by incorporating multiscale information to quantify the effects of natural and human influences on natural resource conditions and trends. A primary goal of the approach is to identify opportunities for resource conservation, restoration, and development. The BLM Landscape Approach is developing assessment methods that promote consistency in management decisions, identify ecological characteristics that promote ecosystem resilience under rapidly changing environmental conditions, and foster collaboration among land management agencies. The BLM Landscape Approach is closely aligned with the DOI’s “A Strategy for Improving the Mitigation Policies and Practices of The Department of the Interior.”

A major component of the BLM Landscape Approach is the Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA) program. REAs identify important ecosystems and wildlife habitats at broad spatial scales and determine where these resources are at risk from environmental stressors that can affect the integrity of ecological systems. Building on the lessons learned from completed or current REAs, the BLM, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, will perform systematic comparisons of REA methods to identify the most promising suite of landscape-level analysis tools. In addition, the BLM and USGS will develop practical applications that demonstrate how to incorporate assessment information to address existing management issues, such as cumulative effects of proposed management actions. The outcome of these efforts will be a set of comprehensive technical guidance documents for conducting and applying broad-scale assessments.

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