Analysis of Biodiversity Elements for Decision-Support System

Publication Date


Committee Chair

John McIntosh

Committee Members

Nawajish Noman


NatureServe has recently developed a decision-support system (DSS) that will allow land use planners to: access and analyze scientific information; conduct mapping and visualization; and report their findings. Using GIS mapping technology, scenario modeling, and the capacity to flexibly incorporate individual and community concerns, the DSS can integrate complex information about biological, physical, and socioeconomic issues. The DSS uses a scenario evaluation function that evaluates whether a land use or conservation scenario provides more or less protection for elements than currently exists. Currently, maps incorporating biodiversity protection assume homogeneous and equal protection for all species or elements (“Null” methodology), even though different species respond in a wide-ranging number of ways to alternate land uses. Bridging the gap between assumption and reality is a prototype GIS process for analyzing biodiversity element-specific response to land use. This new “Element Specific” methodology incorporates compatibility of a biodiversity element with alternate land use scenarios. Both methods were tested on a sample group of biodiversity elements, and the two outputs were compared numerically and spatially. The results indicate that the new “Element Specific” method is significantly different than the current “Null” method.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


Article Location