UCSB Biogeography Lab
process for selecting representative Research Natural Areas
David M. Stoms,
Mark I. Borchert, Max A. Moritz, Frank W. Davis, and Richard L.
Areas Journal (1998) 18: 338-349.
sites as potential Research Natural Areas to represent a set of
target vegetation types is a complex planning problem in which competing
objectives must be satisfied simultaneously, including suitability
and efficiency. We describe a general process for identifying and
siting potential Research Natural Areas that is based on a systematic
description of vegetation and environmental variation in the region,
analysis of patterns of vegetation ownership and management, and
optimal site selection based both on vegetational and environmental
criteria. The approach is demonstrated with an application to siting
Research Natural Areas to represent Mixed Evergreen Forest types
on Los Padres National Forest in the central coast of California.
We envision this process as a preliminary step that would precede
more detailed ground survey and administrative review procedures
as currently practiced. It could also be adapted to similar programs
of regional conservation planning.