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Gap Analysis Program

New Mexico State University

New Website



It is widely understood that the human condition is intrinsically linked to the quality of the environment and the services it provides. Ecosystem services, i.e., "services provided to humans from natural systems," have become a key issue of this century in resource management, conservation, human well-being, and environmental decision analysis. Mapping and quantifying ecosystem services have become strategic national interests for integrating ecology with economics to help explain the effects of human policies and the subsequent impacts on both ecosystem function and human welfare. Aspects of biodiversity are valued by humans in many ways, and thus are important to include in any assessment that seeks to identify and quantify the value of ecosystems to humans. Some biodiversity metrics clearly reflect ecosystem services (e.g., abundance and diversity of game species), whereas others reflect indirect and difficult to quantify relationships to services (e.g., relevance of species diversity to ecosystem resilience, cultural value of native species). Wildlife habitat has been modeled at broad spatial scales and can be used to map a number of biodiversity metrics. In this project, we are using USGS Gap Analysis Program data including land cover, land stewardship, and deductive habitat models for terrestrial vertebrate species to map metrics reflecting ecosystem services or biodiversity aspects valued by humans over large areas. Metrics are derived from species-of-greatest-conservation-need, threatened and endangered species, harvestable species (i.e., upland game, big game), total species richness, and taxon richness. The project is being conducted at multiple scales in a phased approach, i.e. place-based watersheds (San Pedro, Tampa Bay, Albemarle-Pamlico) to multi-state regional areas (Southwest and Southeast) that eventually will culminate in a national-level Sustainable Atlas of Ecosystem Services developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the conterminous U.S.

Kenneth G. Boykin  (kboykin@nmsu.edu)

Center for Applied Spatial Ecology, 

New Mexico State University, 

New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Las Cruces, NM




William G. Kepner (kepner.william@epa.gov)

David F. Bradford (bradford.david@epa.gov)

Anne C. Neale

USEPA, Office of Research and Development

Las Vegas, NV and Research Park, NC




Kevin J. Gergely

USGS National Gap Analysis Program

Moscow ID