This project developed a simple procedure in ArcInfo for rating each
tract of land in Orange County according to its value for native wildlife.
Each tract has an Intrinsic Rating based on its acreage, maturity of
forest, presence of a stream or other bodies of water, overlap with an
important natural area identified in the Inventory of Natural Areas in
Orange County (1988), disturbance by human activities, and edginess.
Each tract also receives a Contextual Rating based on the average
Intrinsic Rating for all land within three concentric buffers which are
weighted inversely according to their distances from the tract.
These ratings are intended to provide an index of the importance of tracts
of land for native wildlife in general. They thus can provide a way
to evaluate the expected consequences of changes in land use. They
can also serve to negotiate fair mitigation for these changes.
Future research could refine the weights of each variable in the ratings
and could identify the special requirements for particular species.