Modeling Conservation Targets for the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Science Center Objects

The USGS is working with the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative to develop forecast models that integrate potential impacts from external drivers for selected conservation targets and priority resources.

The Science Issue and Relevance: Peninsular Florida has a high density of species and ecosystems of conservation concern, as well as many threats to the persistence of native species and their habitats, including high population growth, increasing urbanization, a changing climate, and sea level rise. The Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) has been in the process of determining a set of conservation targets that include desired species and landscape-scale outcomes to help meet conservation goals in Florida’s changing environment. The PFLCC is now interested in developing forecast models that integrate potential impacts from external drivers such as sea level rise and urbanization.

PFLCC boundary map

Map showing the boundaries of the three Southeastern Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC). Gulf Coast Prairie and Ozarks LCC and South Atlantic LCC are shown in light gray. The study area, Peninsular Florida LCC, is shown with diagonal lines. 

(Public domain.)

Methodology for Addressing the Issue:

We will work closely with the PFLCC Science Coordinators to determine which conservation targets and priority resources to model. Workshops have been held throughout the state over the last couple of years to determine targets, and a draft list has been created. Examples of these targets include Gopher Tortoise habitat, landscape connectivity, and hydrologic regime. We will use the draft list as a basis for discussions with the PFLCC Science Coordinators to determine a potential suite of species habitats and landscape indicators for model development. We will identify areas that share characteristics with current priority resources, and therefore have potential to serve as additional habitat for conservation targets.

EverView habitat suitability index

Example model ouput shown in EverVIEW.

(Public domain.)

Future Steps:

To understand potential future impacts of sea level rise and urbanization on the target species and habitats, we plan to use the same urbanization and sea level rise scenarios used in other PFLCC conservation-planning exercises. These models will identify the extent of potential threats to conservation targets and provide the PFLCC with a foundation for the assessment and monitoring of natural resources, a framework for prioritizing conservation efforts, and information for communicating priorities.