Oak Openings Biodiversity Model (Phase I & II)
Phase I: Land Cover Map
Growing anthropogenic pressures continue to intensity and affect natural and semi-natural ecosystems which drives the need to quantify land-use and land cover changes. These abrupt environmental changes occur at different scales (local, regional, and global) and have been increasing over time as a result of both natural and anthropogenic processes. The Oak Openings Region contains remnant natural habitat patches in a matrix of human-modified habitat types where there is a need to actively manage threats such as invasive species, fire suppression, water diversion, and human disturbance. Schetter & Root (2011) created a foundational land cover map for this region which was used to identify remnant natural communities and prioritize areas for acquisition, restoration and management. Over 10 years later, Martin & Root (2020) updated this land cover map, extending from northwestern Ohio to southeastern Michigan.
Phase II: Habitat Suitability Models
Building on this land cover map, habitat models were developed for 15 indicator species, see some examples in Table, that are primarily associated with 5 critical ecosystems to guide conservation and management planning. These models map ecologically functional habitat and identifies priority areas on the landscape to facilitate connectivity.