The adaptive ecosystem management paradigm being promoted within DoD (Goodman 1996) and other federal agencies (Beattie 1996, Dombeck 1996, Thomas 1996) depends heavily upon monitoring the results of management actions (Carpenter 1996, Leslie et al. 1996). Monitoring is the only means whereby the effectiveness of management activities can be judged (Leslie et al. 1996).

However, effective monitoring can be costly and time consuming--especially if large areas must be monitored. Without accurate knowledge of where natural resources are located, land managers may be forced to monitor extensive areas that are potentially suitable for the organism(s) of interest. For example, cerulean warblers (Dendroica cerulea) nest in large, old deciduous trees, but they require large surrounding forested areas. Without more detailed information, a land manager might be forced to monitor thousands of acres of forest when the birds themselves are restricted to only a much smaller subset of the trees.

Using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and existing information on the life history requirements of the organisms or the edaphic and other requirements of important ecosystems, we have developed habitat models for cerulean warbler, Henslow's sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii), and limestone glades and barrens, and we are developing a habitat model for the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). In field tests, these habitat models have proven to be highly accurate at sorting out where the organisms/ecosystems are likely to be found (Hargrove et al. submitted).

GIS-based habitat maps thus offer a means for focusing monitoring activities to a relatively small area where the resources of concern are most likely to be found. This approach not only minimizes costs of monitoring but also reduces the time and effort involved so that monitoring can be done more frequently or for more different resources.


Beattie, M. 1996. An ecosystem approach to fish and wildlife conservation. Ecological Applications 6(3):696-698.

Carpenter, R. A. 1996. Ecology should apply to ecosystem management: A comment. Ecological Applications 6(4):1373-1377.

Dombeck, M. P. 1996. Thinking like a mountain: BLM's approach to ecosystem management.Ecological Applications 6(3):699-702.

Goodman, S. W. 1996. Ecosystem management at the Department of Defense.Ecological Applications 6(3):706-707.

Hargrove, W. W., T. L. Ashwood, L. K. Mann, and A. W. King. Deductive and inductive mapping of potential rare species habitat on military lands using a geographic information system. (Submitted)

Leslie, M., G. K. Jaffe, J. L. Hardesty, and D. L. Adams. 1996. Conserving biodiversity on military lands: A handbook for natural resources managers. HQ USAF/CEVP, Directorate of Environment, Office of the Air Force Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Thomas, J. W. 1996. Forest Service perspective on ecosystem management.Ecological Applications 6(3):703-705.

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