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Ecoregions
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  • Ecoregions
  • Robert G. Bailey
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • 240 W Prospect Rd
  • Fort Collins, CO 80526 USA
  • (970) 498-2617
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Working Papers and Presentations

Bailey, Robert G. Ecoregion-Based Mapping of Military Operating Environments. 2009. Presentation given at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 15-19.

A new map of Military Operating Environments (MOE) was developed from a world-wide ecoregional classification system that is based on climatic conditions and the prevailing vegetation determined by those conditions.  This map allows for identification of operational environments across the globe that are analogous to those U.S. Army installations where training and testing of soldiers and equipment take place.  The ability to conduct pre-deployment activities in similar environments is critical to mission success.  Forty major U.S. Army installations were described by their MOE classification.  It was determined that there are numerous installations that reside in hot continental and subtropical climates, as well as tropical/subtropical and temperate deserts.  There is significant lack of adequate training and testing land resources in the Mediterranean, savanna, and rainforest environments.

Bailey, Robert G. A Genetic Approach to Mapping Ecosystems. 2007. Presentation given at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, CA, April 17-21.

Criteria for delineating ecosystems on a scale-related basis are presented, based on the processes that operate to cause the spatial distribution of ecosystems from the regional scale (ecoregion) to the local, site scale. The units derived from this approach are termed genetic, in that they are predicated upon an understanding of the causal processes that control the pattern of ecosystems. Understanding spatial relationships between causal mechanisms and resultant patterns is a key to understanding ecosystem dynamics and how they respond to management.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecoregion Mapping and Boundaries. 2006. Briefing paper prepared for a workshop to revise Army Regulation 70-38: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation of Material for Worldwide Military Operational Environments, Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, January 30-February 2.

Ecoregion maps show the earth's surface subdivided into identifiable areas based on macroscale patters of ecosystems. These ecoregions delimit large areas within which local ecosystems recur more of less throughout the region in a predictable pattern. This presentation summarizes the rationale used in identifying ecoregion boundaries on maps of the United States, North America, and the world's continents.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecoregions of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. 2006. Briefing paper prepared for a workshop to revise Army Regulation 70-38: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation of Material for Worldwide Military Operational Environments, Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, January 30-February 2.

This paper explains, describes, and displays the ecosystem-based regions of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Ecoregions are identified at three hierarchical levels of detail-domain, division, and province-based primarily on climatic conditions and on the prevailing plant formations determined by those conditions. The third level may include additional criteria, for instance altitude variation within climate types. These regions are based on an explicit approach in which regions are differentiated on the basis of comparable likeness and differences. This approach has the advantage over intuitive "place name regions" that cannot be confirmed or reproduced.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecosystem Patterns and Their Relevance to Research and Management. 2006.

This presentation discusses the origins of ecosystem patterns from ecoregion to local scale. It describes how understanding these patterns can help scientists and managers in two ways. First, the local systems are shown within context of larger systems. This perspective can be applied in assessing the connections between action at one scale and effect at another, the spatial transferability of models, and the links between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Second, they are given information about the geographic patterns in ecosystems. Consequently, they are in a better position to design sampling networks, transfer knowledge, and analyze ecosystem diversity. The approach illustrates an alternative to single-phenomena and single-scale approaches and indicates the trend toward integration of factors in classifying and analyzing ecosystems at multiple scales. Thus it suggests new scientific directions for research and points the way for restructuring the Forest Service research programs.

Bailey, Robert G. Classification of American Cities by Ecoregion. 2005.

An aid to designing sustainable landscapes.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecoregional Landscape Design. 2005. Prepared for the Wild Ones Journal.

This article addresses patterns of ecosystems within a region and what these patterns signify in terms of the processes that create them and goes on to explain their relevance to design of sustainable landscapes.

Bailey, Robert G. Fire Regimes in Different Regional Ecosystems and Their Management Implications. 2005. Presentation given at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Denver, CO, April 5-9.

The majority of American forest and grassland ecosystems are adapted to fire of varying frequencies and magnitudes. Fire-excluded systems are prone to changes in composition and density, and are susceptible to catastrophic fire and invasion by non-native species. Planning for fire and land management must incorporate an improved understanding of fire regimes. This paper discusses fire regimes of different ecosystems at the scale of ecoregion, and explores how understanding fire regimes at this scale can abate the threat of fire exclusion and restore fire-adapted ecosystems.

Bailey, Robert G. Changing Ecoregional Map Boundaries. 2004.

The Forest Service has developed a mapping framework to help managers better understand the hierarchical order of the ecosystems they manage, the National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units. Broad-scale ecoregions (domain, division, and province) and subregions (section only) have been mapped. A team has been working to complete the hierarchy by identifying subsections. This paper presents an evaluation of this idea and gives recommendations.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecogeographic Analysis. 2004.

This presentation outlines a system that subdivides the Earth into a hierarchy of increasingly finer-scale ecosystems. The system consists of a three-part, nested hierarchy of ecosystem units and associated mapping criteria. Delineating units involves identifying the environmental factors controlling the spatial geography of ecosystems. Macroscale units (ecoregions) are climatically controlled and delineated as Koppen-Trewartha climate zones. Nested within these are landscape mosaics, the mesoscale units, controlled by landform and delineated by Hammond's landform regions.

Bailey, Robert G. Understanding Regional Ecosystem Patterns to Design Monitoring Networks and Sustainable Landscapes. 2004. Presentation given at the Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium, Denver, CO, September 20-24.

An ecoregion is a large area of similar climate where similar ecosystems occur on similar sites. This presentation describes the processes that shape local ecosystem patterns, and goes on to explore how understanding the patterns of a particular region is import for design of (1) sampling networks for monitoring ecosystems, and (2) managed landscape that are sustainable.

Bailey, Robert G. Role of Landform in Differentiation of Ecosystems at the Mesoscale (Landscape Mosaics). 2004. Working paper.

A map showing the upper four levels of Ecomap down to the section level has been published for the entire U.S., based on macroclimatic conditions and plant formations. Within the same macroclimate, broad-scale landforms break up the climatic pattern that would occur otherwise and provide a basis for further differentiation of mesoscale ecosystems, known as landscape mosaics. This paper suggests how different levels of landform differentiation could be correlated with landscape mosaics at different levels of resolution.

Bailey, Robert G. A Suggested Way to Improve the Subsection Mapping Process. 2004. Working paper.

A map showing the upper four levels of Ecomap down to the section level has been published for the entire U.S. A national team is working to complete a map of the fifth level, termed subsection. The resulting subsection map appears problematic both in terms of the underlying rationale and in terms of conflict with preexisting maps of the upper levels of Ecomap. An alternative route is suggested that builds on existing approaches by continuing at the subsection level the physiographic delineators that characterize the approach used to delineate sections on the published map.

Bailey, Robert G. Ecological Climate Classification. 2003. Discussion paper.

It's more than the mean monthly temperature of January or the mean annual precipitation.