Summary: This webinar will provide an overview of the Oklahoma Ecological Systems Mapping project, which involves filling in critical gaps in information for a broader effort to map landcover throughout the south-central United States. This resource will provide baseline information to support all kinds of conservation efforts for the Gulf Coast Prairie region, particularly those that involve evaluating the quality of vegetation that contributes to healthy ecological conditions and self-sustaining wildlife populations.
The Ecological Systems Classification for the US, accessible via the NatureServe Explorer website, served as the basis for classification and mapping. This classification has been modified for Oklahoma and a 69-page document was delivered under separate cover to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The basic classification and mapping methods incorporated remote sensing for land cover (about 15 classes), and overlay of digital soils, %slope, and streams to create the map. A total of 3,709 georeferenced, quantitative data points were gathered in a systematic way, and 1,114 more georeferenced points were gathered to help improve the map. A total of 165 vegetation types were mapped. Summary statistics from points show that three of the most frequent six species in the herbaceous layer were non-native species. Post oak was by far the most common tree encountered. The primary grassland types of Oklahoma together accounted for more than a third of the area of the state, and cropland made up more than 15% of the area. More than half of the mapped types occupy fewer than 10,000 hectares of the state.
Presenter: David Diamond, standing in for Allan Janus, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Principal Investigator
Dr. David D. Diamond has been Director of the Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership at the University of Missouri for the past 18 years. Previously he worked in Texas for The Nature Conservancy (4 years) and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (8 years). Working as an ecologist, he wrote the first "modern" plant community classification for Texas. Recently, he has worked on vegetation and geophysical site type mapping and conservation opportunity area identification at multiple scales, from regions (Lower Midwest) to states (Texas and Oklahoma) to local areas and management units (St. Louis Region, National Park units). He has worked with colleagues to compile enduring features data for the conterminous USA, perform an ecoregion-based GAP-style analysis of enduring features, and provide an analysis of enduring features diversity hotspots by ecoregion.