Comparison of spatial extent between Little’s tree species ranges and Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) in the eastern U.S.

Authors: Youngsang Kwon*, University of Memphis - Memphis, TN, Bradley Wayne Baker, University of Memphis
Topics: Biogeography, Cartography, Physical Geography
Keywords: Forest Inventory Analysis, Little’s range map, field data, biogeography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Endymion, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Elbert Little published a five-volume atlas of tree species ranges in North America between 1971 and 1977 known as Little’s range map and digital representation of this map is made available by U.S. Geological Survey. This atlas, in general, shows generous extent of native tree species distribution delineated from published tree distributions, herbarium records, and field surveys. Although it is often used as references for tree species extent in the U.S. and Canada, these range boundaries have yet to be compared explicitly with ground truth tree species datasets. Our objective is to comprehensively compare 152 of Little’s tree species ranges to the USDA Forest Service’s field-based, tree-specific Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA). To assess and compare the extent of tree species ranges between Little’s ranges and FIA, the polygon geometry of Little’s range maps and 7,449 FIA plot locations will be spatially joined to 20 km2 square grids across the eastern U.S. The grids will then be partitioned into 1° longitudinal (68°-98°W) and 1° latitudinal (25°-49°N) bands and for each longitudinal band, we will evaluate the 0th/100th, 5th/95th, 10th/90th and 25th/75th latitudinal percentile of each species type, for both Little’s range and FIA. We will statistically analyze the resulting distributions of tree species extents. Our results will determine the degree of agreement between Little’s tree species ranges compared to field-based FIA for 152 tree species across the eastern U.S.

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