Ecosystem services, i.e., “services provided to humans from natural systems,” have become a centralizing theme in resource management, conservation planning, human well-being, and contemporary environmental decision analysis. Mapping and quantifying ecosystem services provide a strategic national tool for integrating ecology with economics and for analyzing the effects of human policies and their subsequent consequences or benefits on ecosystem function and human welfare. Characteristics of biodiversity are valued by humans in many ways, and thus are important to include in environmental assessments that seek to identify and quantify the value of ecosystems to humans. Some biodiversity metrics clearly reflect ecosystem services (e.g., abundance and diversity of game species), whereas others reflect indirect and difficult to quantify relationships to services (e.g., relevance of species diversity to ecosystem resilience or intrinsic value of native species). Wildlife habitat has been modeled at broad spatial scales and can be used to map a number of biodiversity metrics. In this approach, we map metrics reflecting ecosystem services related to biodiversity conservation using U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program data, including land cover, land stewardship, and deductive habitat models for terrestrial vertebrate species. Example metrics include threatened and endangered species, harvestable species (i.e., small game, waterfowl, fur bearers, and big game), total species, and specific taxa. The project is being conducted at multiple scales in a phased approach, starting with community-based studies (San Pedro, Middle Rio Grande, and Albemarle-Pamlico), then multi-state regional areas (Southwest, Southeast, and South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative), and finally culminating in the national-level EnviroAtlas under development by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its partners.

View completed data at


Kenneth G. Boykin  ( for Applied Spatial Ecology,
New Mexico State University,
New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Las Cruces, NM

 William G. Kepner (
David F. Bradford (retired)
Anne C. Neale (
USEPA, Office of Research and Development
Las Vegas, NV and Research Park, NC

Kevin J. Gergely
USGS National Gap Analysis Program
Moscow ID