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Katmai Ecological Land Surveys

After a huge effort led by ABR senior scientist Aaron Wells, the Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM) ecological land survey (ELS) and soils inventory report has been published!

For a little background on the project, ABR worked with the National Park Service to design and implement an ELS and soil survey in KATM to classify and map soils and local-scale ecosystems using field data that ABR collected during the summers of 2016 and 2017, in addition to ancillary datasets. Our ELS team also obtained and processed high-resolution satellite imagery to prepare a pan-sharpened 0.5 m mosaic for the entirety of KATM, and we mapped the snow regime for KATM using a time series of Landsat imagery.

After the field work and imagery acquisition and analysis were complete, ABR collaborated with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to co-author the report which provides an assessment of the similarities and differences between the soil landscape mapping methods employed by ABR and the NRCS Cooperative Soil Survey methods for mapping soils on National Parklands in Alaska.

From the report:

The ELS approach to understanding landscape processes, their influence on ecosystem functions, and the environments in which they operate provides several benefits. First, landscapes are analyzed as ecological systems with functionally-related parts, recognizing the importance of geomorphic and hydrologic processes to disturbance regimes, the flow of energy and materials, and ecosystem development. This hierarchical approach, which incorporates numerous ecosystem components into Plot Ecotypes with similar properties, allows users to partition the variability of a wide range of ecological characteristics. Additionally, the linkage of the land cover map to climatic, physiographic, topographic, and volcanic history variables to develop ecosystem maps improves the ability to predict the susceptibility and response of KATM ecosystems to a range of human impacts and natural processes. It also facilitates the production of a variety of thematic maps for resource management applications and analyses. (xiv)

—experts in vegetation and soil inventories

and long term vegetation monitoring—

ABR’s ELS team consists of experts in vegetation and soil inventories and long-term vegetation monitoring. In addition to the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring program, our ELS team has a 30 year history of working with Federal agencies to support natural resource inventory and monitoring efforts, including the Bureau of Land Management’s Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) program, the Forest Service’s Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory (TEUI) program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s inventory program, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Cooperative Soil Survey program.

Additionally, the ABR ELS and IT teams recently collaborated to develop a mobile data collection app for soils data that facilitates data collection and field data import into the NRCS’s National Soil Information System (NASIS) database. ABR’s ELS and IT teams help by supporting established agency protocols or developing customized, innovative solutions for natural resource inventories and mobile data collection applications. Contact Aaron Wells ( for more information on how ABR’s ELS team can help support your natural resource inventory and monitoring needs.


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