Mapping areas Susceptible to Intrusion by Nonnative Invasive
Species in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

by

Chris Jung

ES551, Computer Mapping Systems, Emporia State University

Figure 1. Natural stone bridge


Introduction
Red River Gorge
Stream Image
Road Image
Canopy + DEM Image
Susceptibility Image/Conclusion
Comments
References


Introduction

The purpose of this exercise is to work with vector and raster files to target the areas susceptible to intrusion by invasive species. The analysis was performed with the assumption that invasive species are likely to occur in areas of disturbed vegetation/soils. The vector data sets used included roads, railroads, and streams. The raster files used included images of the forest canopy and a digital elevation model (DEM) of the forest. The data sets were analyzed using ESRI ArcGIS software.

Invasive species are considered a serious threat to biodiversity. These invaders are analogous to environmental contaminants that do not degrade and are capable of traveling from site to site. Invasive plant species are known to compete with native species and through prolific spreading can weaken native species and even cause extinctions. Nonnative species cause the displacement of animals by eliminating habitats. Determining where invasions are likely to occur is very important for developing informed decisions on forest management activities.

The Following are three of the more prominent invasive plant species in Kentucky:

Purple loosestrife
Canada thistle
Multiflora rose

These species are very hardy and competitive and require strong and costly forest management practices to prevent invasions.

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Red River Gorge

The Red River Gorge portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest was selected to determine the areas susceptible to encroachment by invasive species. The Gorge is located in Estill, Lee, Powell, and Wolf counties in Kentucky. It is located approximately 2.5 hours southeast of Cincinnati Ohio and 30 minutes east of Lexington. The Gorge consists of approximately 26,000 acres. Over 80 natural stone arches reside in the park and approximately 60 miles of trails. In 1985 the 10 mile section of Red River passing through the Gorge became the first National Wild and Scenic River in Kentucky.

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Stream Image

Rivers and streams aid in the transport and distribution of nonnative species. The banks along streams provided excellent locations for plants to establish themselves. The following is a vector file of the Gorge retrieved from the KY GEONET data set.

Figure 2. Streams in the Red River Gorge

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Road Image

The areas along county roads, state road, and railroads provide a large area for invasive weeds to become established. Furthermore, the construction of roads changes the hydrology of the area by creating impermeable layers that increases surface runoff and subsequently alter habitats. The following is a vector file of the Gorge retrieved from the KY GEONET data set.

. Figure 3. Roads and railroads of the Red River Gorge

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Canopy + DEM Image

A canopy image and DEM file were combined to form the image in Figure 4. The canopy image was retrieved from KY GEONET and the DEM was retrieved from Kentucky Digital Elevation Center. The image reveals a contrast in forest canopy between land owned by the national forest and the publicly owned land outside the parks borders. This distinction is likely due to land use and forest management strategies.

Figure 4. Canopy and DEM image of the Red River Gorge

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Susceptibility Image/Conclusion

The final image contains roads and streams buffered to 60 meters and combined with the results of the forest canopy image. The disturbed areas formed by the roads and streams are likely the most susceptible to invasive species. Smaller pockets of susceptible areas are clearly visible in the image but would likely pose little risk to invasive species due to their geographic isolation.

Figure 5. Areas susceptible to invasive species in the Red River Gorge. website.
Several facilities containing hazardous materials are located in the alluvium.

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Comments

The most challenging portion of this project was importing and projecting different data sets. Certain data sets were excluded from the project due difficulties during importing. Landsat data was not selected for the project but likely would have yielded informative images. This and future projects could benefit from incorporating ground surveys and comparing historical ground cover data.

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References

Arizona Department of Transportation, World Wide Web homepage: http://www.azdot.gov/Highways/NResources/Priority_Weeds.asp [retrieved on 25 April 2008].

ESRI GIS Mapping Software http://www.esri.com/

Invasive.org, World Wide Web homepage: http://www.invasive.org [retrieved on 31 April 2008].

Kentucky Digital Elevation Center, World Wide Web homepage: http://kymartian.ky.gov/demweb/ [retrieved on 26 April 2008].

Kentucky GEONET, World Wide Web homepage: http://kygeonet.ky.gov/ [retrieved on 31 April 2008].

National Invasive Species Information Center, World Wide Web homepage: http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/ [retrieved on 26 April 2008].

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This web page was created to fulfill the requirements for ES 551 Computer Mapping Systems at Emporia State University.
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This page was created on 5/5/08.