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 Metric Sets > Habitat Adjacent to Coastal Wetlands
Habitat Adjacent to Coastal Wetlands (SOLEC ID: 7055)
Metric Maps

Measure Amount and characteristics of habitat adjacent to coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes Basin.

Purpose This metric provides a measure of adjoining upland habitat characteristics, which may affect wetland biota, that require upland habitat for a portion of their life cycle. Parameters address the restoration and maintenance of ecological (i.e., hydrologic and biogeochemical) functions of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. The presence, wetland-proximity, and/or spatial extent of habitat types should be such that the hydrologic and biogeochemical functions of wetlands continue.

Features This indicator offers information on the presence, location, and predominance of habitat adjacent to wetlands, and may provide information about how such habitat types affect the ecological characteristics and functions of coastal wetlands, as demonstrated by the use of remote-sensing data and/or field observations. This indicator can be tracked over time if necessary.

Limitations To conduct such measures at a broad scale, the relationships between wetland-adjacent land cover and the suitability of habitat for particular species need to be verified. This measure will need to be validated fully with thorough field sampling data and sufficient a priori knowledge of such endpoints and ecological mechanisms.

Interpretation Habitat suitability/vulnerability can be more thoroughly explored and explained if it is linked to the physiology and sociobiology of the species being mapped. Interpretation of this indicator may be correlated with other metrics and their patterns across the Great Lakes, and such interpretation may vary as a result of the specificity of land cover information and the contemporaneous nature of the data. Thus, more detailed land cover specificity is required, and is currently under development by EPA/ORD.

Comments A thorough field-sampling protocol, properly validated geographic information, and other remote-sensing-based data could lead to successful development of wetland-adjacent land cover as an indicator of Great Lakes habitat conditions, coastal wetland function, and ecological vulnerability in the region. Such an indicator could be applied to select wetland sites, but would be most effective if used at a regional or basin-wide scale.

Metric Maps Relevant coastal areas in the Great Lakes Basin are mapped for the presence and proximity of land cover in the vicinity of wetlands using remote-sensing based geographic information, and may be analyzed in the context of habitat suitability and habitat vulnerability for a variety of plant and animal species. For example, grassland and/or forest adjacent to wetlands may be important areas for forage, cover, or reproduction for a variety of organisms. Depending upon the particular physiological and sociobiological requirements of different organisms, the adjacent land cover extent (i.e., the width of the upland area around the wetland) may be of importance for interpreting the suitability/vulnerability of habitat conditions.

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