Land Use & Land Cover
The underlying theme of the Heartland Network is the question of whether the species, communities and ecological processes of small remnant and restored prairies and woodlands are sustainable in the face of adjacent habitat loss and fragmentation. Potential impacts from adjacent land-use change on park natural resources include reduced water and air quality, increased invasive plant occurrence, altered animal populations associated with neighboring habitat loss, and diminished quality of viewshed. The relatively small HTLN parks are bordered by adjacent land uses ranging from cattle grazing of native rangeland, to cultivated agricultural fields, to rapid urban development. A key aspect of measuring the effects of isolation and fragmentation is documenting past and current land uses and analyzing rates of land-use change.
Monitoring Questions and Approach
A draft version of the protocol is currently being revised. Conclusions from pilot land use/land cover projects at HOSP and HOCU are the basis of the draft revision. A completed version of the protocol should be available in 2010.