March 13, 2014
Digital representation of oil and natural gas well pad scars in southwest Wyoming
By Steve Garman and Jamie McBeth. USGS Data Series 800.
This online report presents a baseline digital representation of oil and gas well pad scars in the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative study area, for use in wildlife habitat assessments, and more generally, in assessments of land-use trends. Up until now, a digital representation of this surface-disturbance feature within what is a significant portion of the remaining intact sagebrush steppe in the country, has been limited. The report contains a 7-page pamphlet and downloadable shapefiles for use with GIS applications.
March 12, 2014
Applying Threshold Concepts to Conservation Management of Dryland Ecosystems: Case Studies on the Colorado Plateau
By Matthew Bowker, Mark Miller, Steve Garman (GECSC), and Travis Belote. Chapter seven of Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making.
Threshold behaviors describe how a trigger, or sequence of triggers, may lead to distinct changes within an ecosystem. An ideal monitoring program would quantify key triggers and be able to inform managers when their measurements indicate an approaching threshold crossing. Early warning of an approaching threshold crossing enables managers to formulate actions to avoid irreversible ecosystem decline. This report offers a flexible means for identifying these triggers, and presents the results of a data-rich case study in Canyonlands National Park and a data-poor case study in Wupatki National Monument.
February 11, 2014
Market forces and technological substitutes cause fluctuations in the value of bat pest-control services for cotton
By Laura López-Hoffman, Ruscena Wiederholt, Chris Sansone, Ken Bagstad (GECSC), Paul Cryan, Jay Diffendorfer (GECSC), Joshua Goldstein, Kelsie LaSharr, John Loomis, Gary McCracken, Rodrigo Medellín, Amy Russell, and Darius Semmens (GECSC). Published in PLOS ONE.
This study explores the effects of market forces and substitutes on ecosystem service values by assessing how the value of the pest-control services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats to cotton producers in the United States has changed over time. The data from 1990 through 2008 shows that the ecosystem service value of the bats provided to cotton producers declined by 79% due to the widespread adoption of Bt cotton, which is transgenically modified to express its own pesticide, plus declines in the market price of cotton. However, with the possible evolution of pest resistance to Bt cotton, the value of bat pest-control services may increase again, giving rise to an economic option value argument for conserving Mexican free-tailed bat populations. (Icon photo: National Park Service)