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Oregon Gap Analysis Program

Gap analysis (see Scott et al. 1997) is a scientific method for identifying how well native animal species and habitats (vegetation types) are represented in our present-day network of conservation lands. Those species and habitats not adequately represented in our established conservation lands constitute conservation "gaps." The purpose of the Gap Analysis Program (GAP) is to provide broad geographic information on the status of ordinary species (those not threatened with extinction or naturally rare) and their habitats in order to provide land managers, planners, scientists, and policy makers with the information they need to make better-informed decisions.

The Oregon Gap Analysis Program (OR-GAP) has been a cooperative effort, currently managed by the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center, but with major help from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Defenders of Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

All of the data produced for the gap analysis program is available by CD, from the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center, or online, from this Internet site. The Oregon 1999 Gap Analysis Project Final Report (note, this is a very large file, and will download slowly on a dial-up connection) summarizes the project to-date. It describes the project, the data, and OR-GAP use of national GAP standards.

GAP Objectives

There are six major objectives of a GAP Project:

  1. Map actual land cover as closely as possible to the Alliance level (Jennings 1993)
  2. Map the presettlement vegetation cover to determine losses of each type
  3. Map the predicted distribution of all terrestrial vertebrates, and other species for which adequate distributional habitats, associations, and mapped habitat variables are available
  4. Document the occurrence of natural land cover types that are inadequately represented (gaps) in special management areas
  5. Document the occurrence of animal species that are inadequately represented (gaps) in special management areas
  6. Make all GAP Project information available to users in a readily accessible format.