A Gap Analysis of Iowa, 2003 Final Report

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Klaas, Erwin
Andersen, Katherine
Brown, Patrick
McNeely, Robin
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Kane, Kevin
Director of Research Administration
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Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
The Iowa landscape and economy is dominated by production agriculture. Game and non-game wildlife species inhabiting the state are influenced by the destruction, degradation and fragmentation of wetland, prairie and forest habitats caused by intensifying agricultural practices. The Iowa DNR has been involved in long-term species and habitat restoration programs, and evaluating these efforts is important to the DNR. Iowa is bordered on the west by the Missouri River and on the east by the Mississippi River, and numerous native and restored wetlands occur in the northwest. These ecosystems and the resulting production and migration of waterfowl and other migratory birds are of importance to the cooperators.
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The Iowa Gap Analysis Project (IA GAP) began in 1997 to identify areas in the state where vertebrate species richness lacked adequate protection under existing land ownership and management regimes.

To accomplish this goal, the IA GAP team prepared an assortment of datasets that led to three main pieces of information: Iowa vegetation types; Iowa vertebrate/habitat relationship models for 288 species; Iowa land stewardship (ownership and management).

When the project began, there were few stat ewide datasets available that provided the type of data needed for this project. Conse quently, much effort was devoted to building the previously mentioned key da ta layers at a sufficiently fine scale and resolution for subsequent analysis. At the completion of the project, these data became freely available, with the intent that they will be used by those responsible for managing the state’s valuable natural resources, and by the public, so that every one can be better informed. With this in mind, we emphasize that these data are dynamic, and in some places, already out-of date. Nonetheless, the data and analyses that constitute IA GAP represent an important first step toward understanding the st atus of vertebrates and land cover in Iowa and planning for the conser vation of their biodiversity