A juniper management prioritization support tool for Eastern Oregon.
Over the past 100 years, scientists have been documenting the spread of juniper at alarming rates across eastern Oregon, down through Nevada, Utah, and into parts of eastern California, with some studies noting as much as a tenfold increase since the late 1800s. This expansion comes with a heavy cost to local ecosystems (e.g. sagebrush habitats) and threatened species such as sage grouse and pygmy rabbits. The reasons for juniper expansion are varied, but researchers see over-grazing practices of the past, fire suppression and changing climate conditions as the leading factors that have led to the species’ success. The situation has land managers and owners, ranchers, and other concerned community members wondering what can be done to halt the juniper’s steady advance in the West.
But addressing the problem is no easy task. Removal of the species at different stages of development and at remote locations can be extremely expensive. And where the species are treated can have varied results on restoration of surrounding habitats. It’s a challenge to figure out how to get the most value from limited resources for habitat restoration.
To assist BLM to meet these challenges, Ecotrust has created the Oregon Juniper Management Tool using the Madrona framework, a software platform developed by Ecotrust to create web-based spatial management tools. This tool allows land managers to review a suite of juniper-related spatial data layers such as juniper canopy, sage grouse habitat, hydrology, and public ownership in an interactive web map viewer, and then build personalized scenarios for juniper removal by defining specific objectives such as how many acres of juniper to remove or whether or not to prioritize removal in sage grouse habitat.
The tool itself is an open source, online mapping application that allows users to zoom in, pan and query a wide variety of mapped data. At its core is the intuitive and easy to use mapping interface that will work on any modern (past 5 years) browser or hardware. Firefox and Chrome web browsers are preferred due to stability, but Safari and Internet Explorer (versions 9+) web browsers are also compatible. Please be forewarned that Internet Explorer versions 7 and 8, while technically functional, are extremely inefficient, slow and unpredictable. You are therefore strongly advised to avoid using older versions of Internet Explorer whenever possible.