- Director of Marketing and Communications
NatureServe receives support from ExxonMobil to enhance display of scientific information on LandScope America
Enhancements will enrich user access to species and ecosystem data
- Grant from ExxonMobil to NatureServe will increase the depth and integration of information on species and ecosystems within LandScope America’s map viewer
- Enhancements will enable one-click access from the map to geographic lists of federally threatened and endangered species and to ecological system descriptions
- Additional updates will implement user recommended map-viewing features
The grant will enable LandScope to provide more integrated access to nationwide scientific information on species and ecosystems through the LandScope map viewer. By improving the accuracy and utility of LandScope in identifying sensitive areas of biological diversity, the enhancements will increase the ability of ExxonMobil’s workforce and other LandScope users to identify and evaluate the potential conservation value of lands across the United States.
LandScope’s map viewer currently provides users with the cumulative number of federally threatened and endangered plant and animal species by county, watershed, and equal-unit hexagon. ExxonMobil’s grant will enable the display of an up-to-date list of those species. These dynamically generated lists will also link to species records on NatureServe Explorer, which provides information about the conservation status, taxonomy, distribution, and life history of more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities and systems in the United States and Canada.
The grant will also fund the establishment of links between the ecological systems displayed on the map viewer and their corresponding descriptions along with improvements to the map legends. LandScope provides information on 425 of the more than 600 terrestrial ecosystems that occur in the United States, all of them linked to the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. This multi-scale classification—developed by NatureServe, its member programs, federal agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey, and other NGOs including the Ecological Society of America—provides a consistent means of describing and assessing ecological diversity. For conservationists and resource managers, ecological systems are a classification unit that is both easily mapped and readily identifiable in the field, making it useful for application in conservation planning and assessment, monitoring ecological changes, land management, and predicting the ranges of animals and plants.
Launched in a beta release in December 2008, LandScope America combines written, mapped, and multimedia content to inform and inspire efforts to conserve open space across the United States. The map viewer currently includes more than 150 data layers assembled from numerous data provider partners and organized into five themes: conservation priorities, protected areas, threats, plants and animals, and ecosystems.
Exxon’s support for LandScope leverages a major initial investment from the West Hill Foundation for Nature, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and the five pilot states of Colorado, Florida, Maine, Virginia, and Washington, in partnership with land trusts, conservation NGOs, government agencies, and other partners across the country.
“ExxonMobil’s use and support of LandScope America confirms its ability to inform strategic, place-based conservation. The ongoing improvement of LandScope will enhance the user experience and facilitate the use of scientific information from the NatureServe network. We are grateful for ExxonMobil’s contribution to our mission.”
Mary Klein, President and CEO, NatureServe
“These improvements to the LandScope America map viewer will further enrich its content to the benefit all users.”
Allen Carroll, Executive Vice President & Chief Cartographer, National Geographic Maps.
NatureServe is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to providing the scientific basis for effective conservation action. Through its network of 82 natural heritage programs and conservation data centers in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, NatureServe provides a unique body of detailed scientific information and conservation biodiversity expertise about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the Americas. Learn more at www.natureserve.org.