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GIS Layers for the New Mexico State Assessment

This is a list and definitions for the 8 panels being developed for the state assessment of New Mexico's natural resources.

There are eight layers in development that are being used for the statewide assessment of New Mexico’s natural resources. The initial list of layers was proposed in the ’08 Farm Bill and then further defined by each technical committee for each layer. Each layer has been developed mostly from existing data sets. The technical committee consists of specialists in each area from diverse local, state and federal agencies and organizations.

The eight layers are:

Development Potential

Economic Potential

Fish and Wildlife (Biodiversity)

Forest Health


Green Infrastructure

Water Quality and Supply

Wildfire Risk

Here are the current working definitions for each of the layers.

Economic Potential: This data layer highlights areas where forests and rangelands play a major role in local or state economic growth or could in the future. The data layer also highlights areas that contribute to the development of emerging markets, such as biomass energy, ecosystem services, and timber products. We have divided economic potential into four different categories: one based on the availability of saw timber, one based on the availability of lower value material such as firewood or biomass for energy, another based ecosystem services (the importance of large game, and forest and park visitation among others), and one based on the importance of rangeland productivity.

Green Infrastructure: The intent of the Green Infrastructure data layer is to identify landscapes with the potential to form an interconnected green space network. This network will be made up of hubs, corridors and sites. Hubs will include large areas of unfragmented natural habitat, key areas identified in the New Mexico Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy and Wildlands Design Network important sites. Corridors that will connect these hubs will largely follow areas identified by the Western Governors Association wildlife corridors project and identified by NM Game and Fish. In addition, the model will include data that identifies cougar corridor opportunities, hydrological features and selected natural landcover types from the SWReGAP dataset. Sites are defined as important patches of land along the corridors that are selected for their value to wildlife, agriculture, recreation and storm water management. An additional analysis will be completed for select urban areas to identify a local scale green infrastructure network within these urban boundaries. These areas will be identified using existing plans, or if one does not exist, we will use urban tree canopy and hydrological data along with imagery to identify important networks."

Development Potential: The intent of the development potential data layer is to identify areas that are projected to experience increased housing development in the next 30 years.

Water Quality and Supply: The intent of the water quality & supply data layer is to emphasize landscapes that impact long-term watershed function in supplying sustainable public water supplies

Fish and Wildlfie Habitat: The intent of the fish & wildlife data layer is to identify areas that provide habitat for plants and animals including, but not limited to threatened & endangered species. A sub-model emphasizing forest habitat will also be developed.

Fragmentation: The intent of the fragmentation data layer is to identify the extent of fragmentation on forests, woodlands, and rangelands.

Forest Health: The intent of the forest health risk data layer is to identify areas that make a forest area more susceptible to insect and disease outbreaks

Wildfire Risk: The intent of the wildfire risk data layer is to identify areas where planning and management are likely to reduce a relatively high risk of destructive fire.


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