From the Spring Mountains outside of Las Vegas to the Bodie Hills near the California-Nevada border, the Conservancy is changing the way we approach increasing threats to Nevada's vast and remote landscapes including climate change and invasive species like cheatgrass. Conservancy scientists in Nevada have pioneered a new method to tackle these challenges by using cutting-edge science and satellite imagery. The process, called "Landscape Conservation Forecasting™", was developed by the Conservancy's science team and is increasingly recognized by public land managers as a better way to plan for management and restoration of large landscapes.
Through the process, Conservancy staff guide land managers in an exercise that uses the three "M"s: Maps created from interpreted satellite imagery, Metrics to track the ecological health of each ecosystem, and ecological computer Models assess the health of ecosystems, explore alternative restoration activities that could be used to improve the landscape, and identify the best return on investment to maximize the dollars available for restoration.
Started in Nevada, Landscape Conservation Forecasting™ has since been used in at least 12 landscapes in Nevada, Utah, California, and the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. The method’s popularity is growing among land managers especially because its products are used to help with National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) documentation, which permits landscape restoration projects on public lands.
Learn how Landscape Conservation Forecasting is being used to help manage a national park. Read the article "New Vegetation Map Reveals Need for Restoration" recently published in The Midden newsletter (p.6-7), the Resource Management newsletter of Great Basin National Park.
The Nature Conservancy's Eastern Nevada Project, the federal Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Ely District, the U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Ely Ranger District, and Great Basin National Park contain portions of the Great Basin and Mojave Desert Ecoregions. More than 650 plant and animal species thrive in the diverse ecological systems throughout the 72-million-acre Great Basin. Hundreds more flourish - sometimes improbably - in the arid but uniquely adapted 33 million acres of the Mojave.
The Conservancy, BLM, USFS, and National Park Service are working with other stakeholders seeking ways to balance biological preservation with each agency's land uses, such as grazing, agriculture, wildlife management, cultural preservation, or recreation.
The combined effects of historic fire suppression, historic over-grazing, excessive groundwater depletion and exotic plant invasion pose the greatest threat to the biological health of these lands.
Limber-bristlecone pine woodlands, Engelmann spruce forests, aspen woodlands, sagebrush shrublands, mountain shrubs, mountain mahogany woodlands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, wet meadows, creeks and springs
The Conservancy is committed to supporting restoration of altered ecosystems by public and private land managers in five large Great Basin landscapes of Eastern nevada. These areas - comprised of entire watersheds, vast landscapes, complex natural systems and species of special concern - are located primarily on publicly owned lands managed by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.
Since 2000, when the BLM's Ely District announced plans to update its 22-year-old Resource Management Plan for the 11.4-million-acre area, the Conservancy has:
Contact Dr. Louis Provencher, (775) 322-4990, ext. 3120July 06, 2012