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    Terrestrial value statewide map

    Habitat Quality Mapping

    The habitat mapping used in this plan was updated from the work done as part of Minnesota's Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan. The primary goal of habitat mapping was to collate the available information for Minnesota that can be used to prioritize important areas for conservation (protection, acquisition, restoration) by integrating both positive (resources) and negative (threats to resources) information on biodiversity, habitat quality, outdoor recreation (e.g., hunting and fishing), and water quality.  Positive components included features such as known occurrences of rare species, sites of biodiversity significance, or high levels of game species abundance, while negative components included the dominant drivers of environmental change as identified in Phase I of the plan. Negative influences on natural resources included such information as human development, land use, and road density.  By acquiring and objectively processing information related to these components, it was possible to rank areas in Minnesota according to their conservation priority.

    The habitat analyses for the statewide plan are unique for several reasons. First, the analysis team comprised the major natural resource management agencies in the state, including several divisions of the DNR, the MPCA, BWSR, MN Dept of Agriculture, and others. This provided us with access to not only the most comprehensive and up-to-date statewide data sets, but also a wealth of expert knowledge, particularly as they relate to current issues facing the state. Second, the analyses were highly integrated: suites of habitat and stressor layers were combined using an additive modeling approach. This allowed us to generate composite maps of critical terrestrial and aquatic habitat that integrate across taxa and habitats, providing a ‘weight-of-evidence’ approach to the habitat rankings. Similarly, we were able to integrate data layers describing the fundamental drivers of change, using factors such as land use, population and road density, and other factors, to describe how environmental stressors, individually and cumulatively, are spatially distributed  across the state. Finally, the intersection of high-quality terrestrial and aquatic habitat with the composite environmental risk map identifies those regions of the state where critical habitats are most ‘at-risk’. To our knowledge, there have been few, if any, other statewide conservation assessments that have been able to conduct this kind of comprehensive assessment across the spectrum of natural resources.

    High resolution data were used in this study; most of the data were derived or gridded to 30 m cells, the native resolution of the Landsat satellite imagery used for many of the statewide land cover classification and subsequent habitat analyses. These data were summarized, by township (terrestrial data) or lakeshed (watersheds surrounding lakes). The township summaries parallel the work of the state wildlife plan. Also, a key objective of the SCPP was to identify the general areas across the state with high conservation value, based on statewide data. For explicit land acquisition or planning purposes, it is necessary to conduct more specific analysis, using more detailed information that is available at local scales. 

    Twelve terrestrial data sets were identified and compiled from a variety of sources.  Each of these data sets were identified as important by the Land and Aquatic Habitat Conservation (LAHC) team and were, to the degree possible, available on a statewide basis.


    Habitat Model Inputs

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