Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Sustainability, Sustainable development -- Pacific Northwest


As part of efforts to develop the Regional Conservation Strategy (RCS) for the greater Portland-Vancouver region, Oregon State University’s Institute for Natural Resources (INR) was asked to use spatial modeling to identify conservation opportunity areas (COAs). To complete the project, INR analysts proposed a strategy that would map high value areas using a landscape approach that is focused on relatively high spatial resolution data sets available for the whole metropolitan region. The approach creates 2 main metrics: one focused on terrestrial organisms and the other focused on aquatic and riparian organisms. These are combined to create a map of highly ranked land areas that can be used to formulate a map of conservation opportunity areas. The purpose of the COA mapping project was to use geographic information system methods to identify landscape patches with conservation and restoration potential. The criteria used to identify these high value patches was based on a number of base- and derived-data sets that we call “data inputs.” The data ranged from recently mapped land use and land cover types, hydrological data to indicate species habitat requirements, and road influence on habitat patches. The project identified some areas in which data gaps exist (e.g., region-wide biodiversity data collected and mapped in consistent ways) and some opportunities for improving existent data sets (e.g., land use/land cover map). The project provided several layers that can be used to guide the final Regional Conservation Strategy in selecting conservation opportunity areas. The best layer will depend upon the needs of the RCS efforts, however, in our opinion the most appropriate layer to use is COA 3.11.1 which weights wetlands fairly high, but not as highly as the second data draft. COA 3.10.1 offers similar results as well. Overall it appears that the model results corroborate corridors analysis done previously (Hennings and Soll 2010). There are some issues remaining that we feel can most adequately be addressed by updating the base land use/land cover map.


This is a draft report from the Institute for Natural Resources

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