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Probable and potential suitable habitat for 43 rare plant species in the California desert

April 1, 2019

Multiple-use public lands are intended to meet the needs of current and future generations and require balancing a host of diverse resource uses and values within and across landscapes. In the California desert, there are significant interests in further developing renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal) and important conservation concerns on multiple-use public lands. The Bureau of Land Management recently completed a multiyear land use planning initiative to identify how best to accommodate diverse resource uses in the area. Provisions in the plan provide for protection of modeled suitable habitat for a suite of rare plants. In association with the planning effort, three sets of habitat models were commissioned for plants of conservation concern in the area. The resulting challenge was to identify how to best use the existing models to implement requirements in the plan and guide future conservation, development, and planning actions. We evaluated 88 existing habitat models for a suite of 43 rare plants in the California desert (Reese and others, 2019) and used the models to produce three types of products: 1) maps of probable suitable habitat for individual plant species, 2) a multispecies map of probable suitable habitat, and 3) maps of potential suitable habitat for individual plant species. We were able to map probable suitable habitat for 26 of the 43 rare plant species. Each final map of probable suitable habitat indicates both how many models predicted each location to be suitable for the species and the average standardized habitat suitability score for each location. The multispecies map of probable suitable habitat combines data from all 26 species for which probable suitable habitat was mapped and indicates the number of species for which probable suitable habitat is predicted at each location. We were able to map potential suitable habitat for 41 species. Maps of potential suitable habitat are intended only for helping to target future plant surveys. Each final map of potential suitable habitat indicates both how many models predicted each location to be potentially suitable for that species and the average standardized habitat suitability score for each location. Data are presented at a spatial resolution of 10 m pixels, which was required to harmonize the original model inputs. However, the maps of probable suitable habitat should be used at a resolution no smaller than 360 m (i.e., 36 pixels x 36 pixels), which corresponds with the resolution of the coarsest model input. Our products can be used to inform future conservation, planning, and management actions in the California desert. Complete methods and other additional information are provided in the journal article associated with this data release (Reese and others, 2019). The "Probable and potential suitable habitat for 43 rare plant species in the California desert" data release consists of 68 raster datasets divided among three categories: "Probable Suitable Habitat Maps," "Multispecies Map of Probable Suitable Habitat", and "Potential Suitable Habitat Maps." The data files for individual plant species are labeled by four-digit plant codes. The common name, scientific name, four-digit code, and map availability for each species are listed in the Supplemental file for this data release: RarePlants_NamesCodesMapAvailability.pdf.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Probable and potential suitable habitat for 43 rare plant species in the California desert
DOI 10.5066/P9NDA9YC
Authors Gordon C Reese, Sarah K Carter
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center