Field Guide to Landscape Assessments of the United States
State, federal, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are investing significant resources to conduct landscape-scale assessments of the location, condition, and vulnerability of renewable natural resources. These assessments provide critical information on contiguous landscapes (e.g., ecoregions, watersheds, habitats, communities) that can be vital to a range of partners in developing landscape-scale management strategies and plans. They also provide important perspectives for subsequent finer scale management, assessment, and monitoring. A lack of awareness and coordination across these efforts reduces efficiency and diminishes the benefit of these individual assessments.
A multi-stakeholder group recognized the need for and value of collaboration among the authors of these assessments to enhance efficiency and utility and reduce duplication of efforts. This group, called the Crosswalk Team, is collaborating to develop information resources on landscape-scale renewable natural resource assessments. The team’s purpose is to facilitate greater coordination and integration across assessments and improve access to data, which greatly benefits many landscape-scale efforts [e.g. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Projects].
The Field Guide to Landscape Assessments of the United States represents the culmination of the first phase of the crosswalk process. By design, this Field Guide is limited in scope to allow for quick and easy reference. It provides a snapshot of a small sampling of current assessments and uses a common format to improve understanding of similarities and differences in areas of interest, objectives, and resources assessed. The Field Guide does not provide an in-depth analysis of assessments and associated issues, nor does it answer all questions for each audience. It serves, however, as a collaborative tool for understanding existing assessments and as a foundation for future work. Contingent on funding and participation, the Crosswalk Team will build upon the existing Field Guide framework and further engage assessment practitioners to identify other information that would be of value for possible next phases of the crosswalk process, such as developing an interactive map of the assessments, peer-reviewed papers, and expanding the reach to Hawaii and Alaska.