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Terrestrial design products

This folder contains all the terrestrial spatial data results from the Connect the Connecticut landscape conservation design project.  For help using the data see the full technical report.

Terrestrial Cores and Connectors

Terrestrial Cores and Connectors

Included in this download are a set of Tier 1 terrestrial core areas and their connectors, grassland bird core areas, and additional tier 2 cores and tier 3 supporting landscapes. In combination with the aquatic core areas, they spatially represent the ecological network derived from the Connecticut River Landscape Conservation Design (CTR LCD) project. Terrestrial Core and Connectors: The network is designed to provide strategic guidance for conserving natural areas, and the fish, wildlife, and other components of biodiversity that they support within the Connecticut River watershed. Connectors represent “corridors” that could facilitate the movement of plants and animals (i.e., ecological flow) between terrestrial tier 1 core areas. Grassland Bird Cores: Represents a set of terrestrial core areas for grassland birds based on the eastern meadowlark as a representative species for grassland birds. Terrestrial Core Tiers: This layer depicts the terrestrial tier 1 cores (encompassing 25% of the landscape), nested within tier 2 cores (encompassing 50% of the landscape), nested with tier 3 supporting landscapes (encompassing 77% of the landscape). The tiers reflect the arbitrariness in selecting thresholds for designating priority core areas.

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TNC Terrestrial Resiliency, CT River Watershed

TNC Terrestrial Resiliency, CT River Watershed

This dataset represents a scaled version of the terrestrial resiliency index developed by Mark Anderson and associates at The Nature Conservancy (Anderson et al 2012), which is a measure of the relative long-term resiliency of a site based on connectivity to a diversity of landforms, elevations and wetlands. Thus, a value of 0.9 in a cell means that it has a resiliency score that is greater than 90% of all the cells of the same geophysical setting in that watershed, and all the cells with >0.9 values comprise the best 10% of all cells across all geophysical settings within the watershed. TNC's resiliency index, as scaled here, is a major component of the terrestrial core area selection index and thus the terrestrial core area network.

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Terrestrial Ecosystem-Based Core Area Selection Index

Terrestrial Ecosystem-Based Core Area Selection Index

This dataset represents the selection index used to create terrestrial ecosystem-based cores. The selection index is a continuous surface in which every cell is assigned a value (0-1) based on its relative ecological integrity and/or biodiversity value within each HUC6 watershed. Specifically, for all terrestrial and wetland cells, the selection index is a composite index derived from a weighted combination of the 1) weighted index of ecological integrity, 2) TNC's terrestrial resiliency index, and a binary representation of 3) TNC's tier 1 floodplains and 4) S1-S3 rare natural communities as defined and mapped by the state Natural Heritage programs. For aquatic cells (which are also included in this layer), the index is equal to IEI, except in headwater creeks where IEIis averaged with USGS's stream temperature tolerance index

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Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise

This dataset represents the sea level rise metric based on a model developed by Rob Theiler and associates at USGS Woods Hole, which is a measure of the probability of a focal cell being unable to adapt to predicted inundation by sea level rise. Specifically, whether a site gets inundated by salt water permanently due to sea level rise or intermittently via storm surges associated with sea level rise clearly determines whether an ecosystem can persist at a site and thus its ability to support a characteristic plant and animal community. USGS examined future sea-level rise impacts on the coastal landscape from Maine to Virginia by producing spatially-explicit, probabilistic predictions using sea-level projections (based on an average of two climate change scenarios: RCP 4.5 and 8.5), vertical land movement (due to glacial isostacy) rates, elevation, and land cover data. The data span the coastal zone from an elevation of 5 m inland to -10 m offshore, and are provided for the forecast year 2080.In the layer provided here, the raw coastal response metric produced by USGS is scaled and inverted so that a cell with high probability of exhibiting a dynamic (or adaptive) response to sea level rise gets a zero (low stress) and a cell with low probability of exhibiting a dynamic response gets a value approaching 1 (high stress). In addition, we set all cells classified as sub-tidal to nodata for consistency with other products.

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Weighted Index of Ecological Integrity

Weighted Index of Ecological Integrity

This dataset represents the weighted index of ecological integrity (IEI), which is a measure of relative intactness (i.e., freedom from human modifications and disturbance) and resiliency to environmental change (e.g., as caused by disturbance and climate change). Raw IEI is a composite index derived from 19 different landscape metrics that measure different aspects of intactness and resiliency. For the derivation of this layer, raw IEI is (quantile) scaled by ecological system and HUC6 watershed so that the poorest cell of each ecological system gets a 0 and the best gets a 1 within each watershed. In the layer provided here, scaled IEI has been modified to reflect weights assigned to each ecological system by the planning team, such that the final index gives more emphasis to certain terrestrial and wetland ecological systems deemed more vulnerable or in greater need of conservation (e.g., wetlands, alpine, boreal upland forest). Note that weights were not applied to aquatic systems. Thus, Aquatic Index of Ecological Integrity, which is provided for convenience in displaying the results of the aquatic conservation design but is otherwise equivalent to IEI except that it only has values for aquatic cells (all non-aquatic cells are set to nodata), is technically unweighted IEI. Weighted IEI is a major component of the terrestrial and aquatic core area selection indices and thus the terrestrial and aquatic network of core areas.

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Climate Stress

Climate Stress

This dataset represents the climate stress metric, which is a measure of the estimated climate stress that may be exerted on a focal cell in 2080. Specifically, the climate stress metric reflects the 2080 departure from the current climate conditions that a cell may be exposed to in relation to its current climate niche breadth. Essentially, this metric measures the magnitude of climate change stress at the focal cell based on the climate niche of the corresponding ecological system and the predicted change in climate (i.e., how much is the climate of the focal cell moving away from the climate niche of the corresponding ecological system) between 2010-2080 based on the average of two climate change scenarios: RCP 4.5 and 8.5. Cells where the predicted climate suitability in the future decreases (i.e., climate is becoming less suitable for that ecological system) are considered stressed, and the stress increases as the predicted climate becomes less suitable based on the ecological system's current climate niche model. Conversely, cells where the predicted climate suitability in the future increases (i.e., climate is improving for that ecological systems) are considered unstressed and assigned a value of zero.

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Probability of Development

Probability of Development

This dataset represents the integrated probability of development between 2010-2080 based on a custom urban growth model that accounts for the type (low intensity, medium intensity and high intensity), amount and spatial pattern of development. This index represents the probability of development occurring sometime between 2010 and 2080 at the 30 m cell level. The projected amount of development in an area is downscaled from county level forecasts based on a U.S. Forest Service 2010 Resources Planning Act (RPA) assessment. The type and pattern of development is based on models of historical development and is influenced by factors such as geophysical conditions (e.g., slope, proximity to open water), existing secured lands, and proximity to roads and urban centers.

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