Reviewing field information from Channel Islands National Park

Reviewing field information from Channel Islands National Park

In conjunction with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), the National Park Service and other entities, AIS has created standardized fine-scale vegetation maps for large portions of high-priority conservation and management areas in California. The maps comply with the National Vegetation Classification System.
Among the areas AIS has mapped since the 1990s are:

•    The Sierra Nevada Foothills – North
•    Point Reyes and Golden Gate NRA
•    Yosemite NP
•    Pinnacles NP
•    Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
•    Santa Monica Mountains NRA
•    Channel Islands NP
•    Western Riverside County
•    Desert Vegetation Map in Support of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

Earlier datasets were created using manual photo interpretation overlays that were subsequently digitized. More recent projects have been accomplished using heads-up digitizing techniques, in which color and color infrared aerial imagery were viewed onscreen to create polygons that were coded for Vegetation Type and related attributes. Depending on local considerations, the minimum mapping unit ranged from 1 to 10 acres.

Development of a mapping classification, field reconnaissance, and discussion with local experts typically preceded the production phase of all mapping efforts. During photo interpretation, AIS used ancillary data and imagery sources to strengthen map accuracy. Field verification trips were often conducted prior to finalizing the maps and submitting them for accuracy assessment. All maps met or exceeded map accuracy standards.

Maps and reports for many of these projects can be viewed on the CDFW website.
Applications for these vegetation spatial databases include wildlands fire/fuels modeling; identifying individual species distributions; predicting the spread of invasive species; minimizing impacts of development projects; and setting a baseline for monitoring climate change impacts.