Description: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Oak Ridge Reservation, encompassing 33,639 acres in the Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province of East Tennessee, has long been known for its unfragmented forests and high biodiversity. Many areas on the Reservation have been recognized as important natural areas, but no comprehensive treatment has been performed to evaluate the relative significance and importance of these areas compared to each other. The present study was conducted to develop a set of guidelines for evaluating the natural value of specific areas, to evaluate all the terrestrial areas that are currently delineated, and to rank all areas according to their relative biodiversity importance. All available data, reports and site-specific information relevant to Reservation lands, including Tennessee Division of Natural Areas database information, were evaluated and field work was conducted. Methodologies and criteria for assessment and evaluation of areas were developed; categories of criteria were devised; and a ranking system for evaluation of natural areas was produced. There were 70 areas evaluated during the study. The system is flexible, dynamic and easily revised to reflect updated and new information and interpretations. Eight categories of evaluation factors were established and used to characterize each site. These were the following: size of area, number or status taxa present, number of Endangered and Threatened taxa present, rarity of the Endangered and Threatened taxa on the Reservation, community diversity, site integrity and quality, disturbance and threat levels, and other significant features and factors. Each category generally consisted of a 5-point ranking scale from 0-4, allowing for a possible composite score of 32, with higher ranked, more important, sites attaining higher scores. Highly ranked sites are representative of regional natural diversity; contain outstanding natural features, communities or geology and/or very rare taxa or other elements; are relatively large in size with mature or old-growth community composition; ...
Date: November 2009
Creator: Baranski, Micahel J.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department