A systematic process for selecting representative Research Natural Areas

TitleA systematic process for selecting representative Research Natural Areas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsStoms, DM, Borchert, MI, Moritz, MA, Davis, FW, Church, RL
JournalNatural Areas Journal
Keywordsreserve selection algorithm weighted-benefits maximal covering location problem Los Padres National Forest research natural areas

Prioritizing sites as potential Research Natural Areas to represent a set of target vegetation types is a complex planning problem in which competing objectives must be satisfied simultaneously, including suitability and efficiency. We describe a general process for identifying and siting potential Research Natural Areas that is based on a systematic description of vegetation and environmental variation in the region, analysis of patterns of vegetation ownership and management, and optimal site selection based both on vegetational and environmental criteria. The approach is demonstrated with an application to siting Research Natural Areas to represent Mixed Evergreen Forest types on Los Padres National Forest in the central coast of California. We envision this process as a preliminary step that would precede more detailed ground survey and administrative review procedures as currently practiced. It could also be adapted to similar programs of regional conservation planning.