Draft ecosystem diagram for maritime forest

Draft ecosystem diagram for maritime forest

Back in summer 2013, your Cooperative drafted a first version of a report called the “State of the South Atlantic” that attempted to evaluate the past, present, and future status of all the LCC’s natural and cultural resource indicators. The staff learned a lot from that first effort—we realized that we could not yet adequately model many of the indicators or successfully project indicator condition both forward and backward in time.

Now that we’ve nearly finished revising the indicators and preparing for Blueprint 2.0, the South Atlantic LCC is ready to take a second crack at a new-and-improved State of the South Atlantic report. This time, it will just measure current indicator conditions, setting a baseline for future evaluations. It will summarize the health of the entire geography as a whole, and break down that overall score by subregion and by ecosystem. You can think of it as a snapshot in time, telling us how our lands and waters are doing today.

Another major lesson learned from 2013—your Cooperative needed some professional design help. So we’re partnering with a fabulous team from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science called the Integration and Application Network (IAN). This group has tackled report card projects as iconic as the Chesapeake Bay, and as challenging as the entire Mississippi River Watershed (yup, the one that drains all or part of 31 states). Instead of another text-heavy report punctuated by Excel charts, prepare to be dazzled by a glossy compilation of photos, maps, diagrams, and stories that paints a much more compelling picture of the region where we live, work, and play. It’s designed to appeal to an audience ranging from the general public to land managers, explaining how the indicators are measured and scored in an intuitive way.

Can you tell that I’m excited? I know that you will be, too, when you see the finished product! It’s scheduled to be released in time for the first round of Blueprint 2.0 workshops in mid-February. (Don’t forget to register for one, if you haven’t already!)  We held the first kick-off meeting for this project at the end of October, and will be meeting with our IAN compatriots again next week. Stay tuned for the big reveal next month!