When we plan our communities we often focus on our infrastructure needs. Infrastructure is defined as “the substructure or underlying foundation, especially the basic installations and facilities on which the continuation and growth of a community depend”. We often think about our gray infrastructure – roads, sewers, utility lines, hospitals, schools, prisons, etc. and ignore our green infrastructure – waterways, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitats, natural areas, greenways, working farms, forests, wilderness area, etc. By planning both of our green and gray infrastructure at the same time, we can reduce the cost for many of our services and thus reduce the cost of service delivery and maintain lower taxes.
Coordinated under the National Gap Analysis Program of the USGS Biological Resources Division, GAP is a nationwide biological diversity assessment and planning program. It provides assessments of the conservation status of native vertebrate species and natural land cover types throughout the U.S., and facilitates the application of this information to land management activities.
The first statewide study of land use trends, GLUT is showing how Georgia’s rapid growth has affected land use in urban and rural areas. The study provides data to help planners predict future patterns of land use and identify potential problems as communities cope with continued development and sprawl. It centers on how growth affects environmental concerns such as water quality, air pollution, increased flooding, wetland loss and loss of natural habitat. Funded by The Turner Foundation, GLUT is a cooperative effort of UGA’s Odum School of Ecology [formerly the Institute of Ecology] and Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
From 1991 Landsat data, we developed a second set of canopy information for the southeastern United States. This includes tree canopy coverage for Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Northern Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and most of Virginia. These data allow communities across the southeastern United States to begin to evaluate the trends in community tree canopy cover.
The Southeast Gap Analysis Project (SEGAP) is a regional representative of the National Gap Analysis Program sponsored by the Biological Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey (USGS-BRD).