Vernal pool wetlands are at risk of destruction across the northeast United States, due in part to their diminutive size and short hydroperiods. These characteristics make it difficult to locate vernal pool habitats in the landscape during much of the year, and no efficient method exists for predicting their occurrence. A logistic regression procedure was used to identify large-scale variables that influence the presence of a potential vernal pool, including surficial geology, land use and land cover, soil classification, topography, precipitation, and surficial hydrologic features. The model was validated with locations of field-verified vernal pools. The model demonstrated that the probability of potential vernal pool occurrence is positively related to slope, negatively related to till/bedrock surficial geology, and negatively related to the proportion of cropland, urban/commercial, and high density residential development in the landscape. The relationship between vernal pool occurrence and large-scale variables suggests that these habitats do not occur at random in the landscape, and thus, protection in situ should be considered.
Additional publication details
Correlates of vernal pool occurrence in the Massachusetts USA, landscape