The USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Snake River Field Station (SRFS) maintains a database of spatial information, called PRAIRIEMAP, which is needed to address the management of prairie grasslands in western North America. We identify and collect spatial data for the region encompassing the historical extent of prairie grasslands (Figure 1). State and federal agencies, the primary entities responsible for management of prairie grasslands, need this information to develop proactive management strategies to prevent prairie-grassland wildlife species from being listed as Endangered Species, or to develop appropriate responses if listing does occur. Spatial data are an important component in documenting current habitat and other environmental conditions, which can be used to identify areas that have undergone significant changes in land cover and to identify underlying causes. Spatial data will also be a critical component guiding the decision processes for restoration of habitat in the Great Plains. As such, the PRAIRIEMAP database will facilitate analyses of large-scale and range-wide factors that may be causing declines in grassland habitat and populations of species that depend on it for their survival. Therefore, development of a reliable spatial database carries multiple benefits for land and wildlife management. The project consists of 3 phases: (1) identify relevant spatial data, (2) assemble, document, and archive spatial data on a computer server, and (3) develop and maintain the web site (http://prairiemap.wr.usgs.gov) for query and transfer of GIS data to managers and researchers.
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USGS Numbered Series
PRAIRIEMAP: A GIS database for prairie grassland management in western North America