Louisiana’s Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative – Spatial Decision Support System
Track: Environmental Management
Author(s): Steven Ward, Patrick Moore
Due to widespread ecosystem damage associated with the 2005 Hurricane season, the State of Louisiana has leveraged the Coastal Impact Assistance Program to develop a Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative (CFCI). Coastal forest habitats retain invaluable storm surge attenuation characteristics and serve as a critical line of defense to gulf coast communities. In order to objectively facilitate the acquisition of conservation easements across the coastal zone, GEC led the development of the CFCI program with a Spatial Decision Support System. This custom tool was developed in C## as an ArcGIS extension utilizing distance decay theory and Spatial Analyst functionality to create a prioritization surface for the conservation of forested lands across the coast. This spatial index will serve as the primary benchmark for state acquisition of forested lands in coastal Louisiana. The CFCI will be the first coastal forest conservation program utilizing GIS as its core decision making and management tool.
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