- Orndorff, Stephanie
University of Maine Graduate School
The three studies reported here (i.e., statewide, southern Maine, and state and federal wildlife areas) identify what areas should be conserved to represent the natural diversity of Maine. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology was used to conduct the analyses comparing the distribution of abiotic and biotic variables representing natural diversity on and off conservation lands. In the statewide analysis, 10 environmental variables were compared on and off conservation lands using ArcGrid with a cell resolution of 1.86 x 1.86 km. The areas found to contain variables that were under represented were combined to identify and map regions with under-represented characteristics. The mean number of under-represented variables for each major biophysical region in Maine was calculated with southern Maine being in greatest need of more conservation lands. The highest degree of under-representation was in low elevation areas and lower portions of large river valleys. When abiotic variables, which are more permanent to the landscape, were weighted higher than biotic, the same results as above were found.