Alabama Gap Website

 


The Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
at Auburn University began conducting a Gap Analysis Project (GAP) for the State of Alabama in August 2001. This Alabama Gap Analysis Project (AL-GAP), is part of a larger nationally sponsored GAP program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in which the main objective is to produce large-scale biodiversity and conservation assessments for native wildlife species and natural land cover types. Additional information regarding the National Gap Program can be found at www.gapanalysis.nbii.gov.

GAP Overview:

Gap analysis is an analytical process
which assesses the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats collectively by mapping natural land cover types and the distribution of native wildlife species for comparison with patterns of land use and land management.

To accomplish this GAP projects employ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify unprotected biodiversity or “gaps,”  the biological elements (e.g. land cover types, native wildlife species) that are underrepresented or not protected in lands currently managed for long-term conservation (i.e., wildlife refuges, parks, or privately managed lands).

In general, the questions commonly asked by GAP projects include:

•  Where does each vertebrate species occur?
•  What are the vertebrate habitats and where can they be found?
•  Where are all the conservation lands?
•  Are we protecting lands where vertebrate species commonly occur?
•  How much habitat is being managed for conservation?

Southeast Regional GAP Cooperation:

In addition to producing products specific to the state of Alabama
, AL-GAP is working in conjunction with the North Carolina (NC-GAP) and Georgia (GA-GAP) Gap Projects as part of a Southeast Regional GAP effort to produce regional GAP datasets for a nine state area. This collaboration has been initiated to map both land cover and vertebrate species using regionally consistent methods and data (e.g., land cover units, topography, hydrology, etc), as well as stratifying mapping efforts along ecologically relevant boundaries rather than political boundaries.

As part of this Southeast effort, AL-GAP will produce a land cover map for the Gulf Coastal Plain west of the Chattahoochee River and portions of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (see Land Cover section) as well as develop regional predicted distribution models for a third of the vertebrate species native to the southeastern region. However, AL-GAP will be responsible for compiling data for state level products, analyses, accuracy assessments and reporting as outlined by our individual state project objectives.

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• A Project of the Alabama Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit •
• Auburn University • Auburn, Alabama 36849 •
e-mail webmaster: silvaal@auburn.edu