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Science Investments

This section showcases many Science Investments, such as Decision Support Tools, Research Products, Maps and Data, as well as Guides for Delivering Science, Building Capacity and Networking Communities.

Comparing Remote Sensing and Field-Based Approaches to Estimate Ladder Fuels and Predict Wildfire Burn Severity

A comparative study on remote sensing and field-based approaches to estimate ladder fuel density. Can densities from different approaches predict wildfire burn severity?

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Integrating Cultural Resource Preservation at a Landscape Level

Integrating Cultural Resource Preservation at a Landscape Level

A collaborative research project sponsored by the National Park Service and the Appalachian LCC seeks to integrate cultural resources, such as historic bridges and Civil War Battlefields, into landscape conservation planning and design to emphasize both natural and cultural resources in defining conservation priorities.

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Interactive Conservation Planning for the Appalachian LCC: Appalachian NatureScape

Interactive Conservation Planning for the Appalachian LCC: Appalachian NatureScape

The outcome of the Appalachian LCC Conservation Planning & Design consultative process and modeling is a dynamic ‘Conservation Blueprint’ or 'Landscape Conservation Design' called NatureScape. This is a dynamic or living design envisioned as an ongoing consultation with the conservation community - continuously incorporating new information and datasets as well as engaging subject-matter experts and committed stakeholders.

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Classification and Mapping of Cave and Karst Resources

Classification and Mapping of Cave and Karst Resources

Cave and karst systems are unique environments that occur throughout the Appalachians. They provide habitat for a diverse array of species and are an important source of domestic water supply for Appalachian communities. However, a lack of classification and mapping information on these ecosystems creates a significant barrier to conservation. In order to develop and deliver landscape-level planning tools, it is essential to develop an Appalachian-wide map depicting where cave and karst habitats and resources occur across the landscape. Researchers from an array of organizations were funded by the LCC to develop a series of deliverables, including data tables, geospatial information layers, and maps on these ecosystems.

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Riparian Restoration Decision Support Tool

Riparian Restoration Decision Support Tool

An innovative riparian planting and restoration decision support tool is now available to the conservation community. This user-friendly tool allows managers and decision-makers to rapidly identify and prioritize areas along the banks of rivers, streams, and lakes for restoration, making these ecosystems more resilient to disturbance and future changes in climate. It will also help the conservation community invest limited conservation dollars wisely, helping to deliver sustainable resources.

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Assessing Vulnerability of Species and Habitats to Large-scale Impacts

Assessing Vulnerability of Species and Habitats to Large-scale Impacts

New vulnerability assessments for 41 species and 3 habitats in the Appalachians are now available. The conservation community can view and search each of these assessments by vulnerability scores, conservation status ranks, state and subregion of assessment, and higher taxonomy. In addition, principle investigators NatureServe compiled the results of 700 species assessments previously completed by other researchers as well as assessments on several habitats.

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Stream Impacts from Water Withdrawals in the Marcellus Shale Region

Stream Impacts from Water Withdrawals in the Marcellus Shale Region

The Appalachian LCC provided a grant to Cornell University Environmental Engineers to study how the region’s surface freshwater supply – and the health of natural systems delivering this resource – have been impacted and may be altered in the coming years under increasing water withdrawals.

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Stream Classification System for the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Stream Classification System for the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Stream classification information is essential to develop and implement flow standards and water management recommendations that will sustain aquatic biodiversity. Unfortunately, standardized information was lacking for the Appalachian landscape. The goal of this project was to develop a state-based, consistent stream classification system for aquatic ecosystems in the region. Unifying state-based stream classifications into a single consistent system, principal investigators at The Nature Conservancy developed a hierarchical classification system and map for stream and river systems for the Appalachian LCC that represents the region’s natural flowing aquatic habitats.

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Assessing Future Energy Development

Assessing Future Energy Development

Assessing Future Energy Development across the Appalachian LCC uses models that combine data on energy development trends and identifies where these may intersect with important natural resource and ecosystem services to give a more comprehensive picture of what potential energy development could look like in the Appalachians. A web-based mapping tool allows policy makers, land management agencies, industries, and others to see where development may likely occur and intersect with important natural values to inform regional landscape planning decisions. Ultimately this information is intended to support dialogue and conservation on how to effectively avoid, minimize, and offset impacts from energy development to important natural areas and the valuable services they provide.

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Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources

The President's Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda is the result of an interagency process to inventory and assess current policies, programs, and regulations related to climate change adaptation. The Agenda builds upon the robust climate change adaptation work already accomplished by Federal agencies and identifies significant actions moving forward. It specifically mentions how Federal agencies working to address ecosystem management issues through LCCs and other multi-stakeholder bodies will work with partners to select flagship geographic regions for which they will identify priority areas for conservation, restoration, or other investments to build resilience in vulnerable regions, enhance carbon storage capacity, and support management needs. Within 24 months, these agencies and their partners will have identified and mapped the initial list of priority areas within each of the selected geographic landscapes or regions.

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Assessing Forest Fragmentation from Marcellus Shale Gas Development

Expansion of drilling sites and associated infrastructure to extract natural gas from the Marcellus shale deposits has the potential to significantly reduce existing forest cover across the Marcellus field and leave what remains in a fragmented state.

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