Wildlife Indicators :: Animal Diversity :: At-risk species :: Breeding bird survey :: Significant Natural Heritage Areas
Landscape Habitat/Indicator Guilds :: Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat Assessment

Animal Diversity in the Triangle in 2010

White-tailed deer - photos by Steve Allen
Protected open spaces provide valuable wildlife habitat.
Variegated fritillary

What is this?

The NC GAP analysis tool can be used to report the total number of species by county over time. The GAP analysis tool can also be used to report the number of state listed species, federally listed species and GAP species of concern by county, which can be compared with N.C. Natural Heritage Program data on listed species and annual Breeding Bird Survey data to determine if certain habitat types are more at risk than others.

The NC GAP Analysis Program is the state level of the National GAP Analysis Program sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey. The goal of the GAP Analysis Program is to “is to conduct regional assessments of the conservation status of native terrestrial vertebrate species and natural land cover types and to facilitate the application of this information to land management activities.” This is accomplished through the following five objectives:
  • Map the land cover of the United States.
  • Map predicted distributions of terrestrial vertebrate species for the U.S.
  • Analyze the representation of vertebrate species and land cover types in areas managed for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity.
  • Provide this information to the public and those entities charged with land use research, policy, planning, and management.
  • Build institutional cooperation in the application of this information to state and regional management activities.

Why is this important?

Monitoring the total number of species in the Triangle is a way to track biodiversity in the region. Animal and plant diversity helps support the Triangle’s wildlife with healthy ecosystems but it has also many other public benefits, including watershed protection, recreational opportunities, raw materials such as wood, climate control, carbon sequestration, and providing residents with access to nature for personal recreation. A decrease in animal diversity or an increase in the number of listed species can help focus conservation efforts on the species, or habitats most at risk. Bird watching is the fastest growing outdoor activity in the country according to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What does this measure show?

There are 122 bird species in the Triangle, 49 mammals, 59 reptile, and 45 amphibians.

Table 1. Source: 2010 North Carolina GAP Analysis Project

Limitations and Further Research

Looking at overall animal diversity in the region is a broad approach to monitoring the state of wildlife in the Triangle. The GAP Tool provides a quick look at the overall numbers in the Triangle but should be paired with other data to determine which species may have been recently listed as threatened or endangered at the state or federal level. The data shows an overview of the general breakdown of animal species in the region, but for a more in-depth analysis a finer approach may be needed. The sections that focus on at-risk species and bird survey numbers show how that might be used along with the overall numbers.

Authors Steve Allen, Jessica Stocking and Amanda Willis :: N.C. State University :: 2010.05.07

Jacquelyn Wallace :: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Dr. Dean L. Urban :: Duke University
Dr. Christopher Moorman :: N.C. State University

Technical Notes

The NC Online GAP Data Explorer Tool was used to generate the county totals for the charts on animal diversity in the Triangle. The tool is available at http://www.gapserve.ncsu.edu/ncgap/ncgap/.

Wildlife Indicators :: Animal Diversity :: At-risk species :: Breeding bird survey :: Significant Natural Heritage Areas
Landscape Habitat/Indicator Guilds :: Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat Assessment