Chapter I
    Within the past three decades there has been an increased awareness of the need for preservation and protection of  the environment. Of particular interest are areas such as wildlife and nature reserves or local, state and national parks.  Population pressures bring increased development and the result is a decrease in natural habitats of wildlife and vegetation species.  With the destruction of  habitats,  species extinction and loss of biodiversity is occurring at an alarming rate (Shafer 1990; Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
    While there has been a marked increase in efforts to increase species  habitat through land  preservation by government and private sources there is still evidence of continued decline.  Natural wetlands in particular,  have declined in favor of land development and agricultural use.  It is estimated that in the state of Ohio  90% of wetlands in the state were lost from the 1780's to the 1980's (Dahl 1990), and in addition a 57% loss of forested wetlands has occurred in Ohio since 1940 (Birch and Wharton 1982).   Small parks and  nature reserves are especially susceptible to  pressure from outside development and urban  encroachment.
    Park managers and planners need quality research and information to make informed decisions concerning the complex interactions of the environment.  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) coupled with remote sensing technology have proven to be an  effective, useful and efficient tool for ecosystem management and environmental modeling (Green 1992; Hall et al. 1988). A geographic information system is a spatially referenced database that allows storage, manipulation, query and display of large volumes of geographic data  (Lee 1993).  GIS has been implemented in many National Parks and U.S. Forest reserves as well as in many large private ownership holdings of natural resources, such as forestry and mining lands.    A GIS can accommodate large attribute databases containing information on past trends as well as current use of areas within a given boundary. Data collected from different sources and in different formats can be effectively integrated into a comprehensive GIS database to support decision-making by park management.  The analytical capabilities of a GIS can improve analysis of ecological data and can provide solutions for problem-solving  (Aangeenbrug 1991).  Transitional areas or areas under increased development can be identified using analytical tools of a GIS, such as overlays and queries within a GIS database of land use and land cover.
     For instance  a GIS database  can be used to show land use of spatially congruous properties in proximity to park boundaries and their potential for use as buffers through land acquisition.  Consideration of these types of applications can identify  the potential use of  GIS as an environmental planning and management tool.  A GIS offers planners and managers a spatially linked database that can be utilized as a tool within a decision-support system to satisfy environmental regulations.  In a GIS a user can visualize spatial relationships to identify conflicts in resource management such as timber harvest activities that may impact environmentally sensitive riparian areas or animal and plant habitats.  Figure 1 shows streams that are buffered to reduce impacts from timber harvests.
     In the management of natural resources  GIS has become an integral  part of the planning process.  The manipulation or analysis of  GIS data may contribute to different levels of  decision-making.  Users within a management structure may have varied access  to spatial  or non-spatial data.  The advantages to a GIS are the manipulation and query capabilities available to various levels of users.  However, GIS is not a cure-all for managers.  It functions
as a useful tool that contributes to the hierarchical planning mechanism.  Figure 2 shows the different levels of  GIS users in a management organizational structure.
     Within the past decade GIS has been implemented by a number of county and city governments in Ohio, but the advanced capabilities of GIS as a decision-support tool have been hampered by misunderstanding of the technology and lack of trained personnel.  In addition, there is difficulty in obtaining and converting spatially referenced data into a compatible format for use in a GIS.
     Data conversion and integration are the critical problem in the creation of  a  GIS.  Data and records may exist in a variety of formats such as paper maps and/or tabular databases.  Digital data may be in formats created by software such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) or  converted from satellite imagery.  In many cases digital data must be converted from vector (lines) to raster (pixels) or  vice versa before they can be incorporated into a GIS.  For GIS data to become useful in a project the following questions need to be addressed:
 1. What are the data requirements of the GIS in the project?
 2. What data sources are available for the project?
 3. What techniques can be used to get the data into the GIS database?
 4. How will the data be integrated spatially to answer problems in the project?
     The Ohio Department of Natural Resources  (ODNR) maintains the largest spatial database within the state (ODNR 1995b).  Divisions within the department of the ODNR including Wildlife and the Ohio Capabilities Analysis Project (OCAP) use GIS as a planning and decision -making tool.  However, within the Division  of  State Parks there are no current uses or applications of GIS technology.
     This thesis applies  GIS technology to Quail Hollow State Park (QHSP), a 700 acre nature reserve in northeast Ohio.  The goals of the research are as follows:
 1.  The integration of various data sources and formats to create a comprehensive GIS database for Quail Hollow State Park. This database consists of aerial photography, thematic layers of roads, trails, and points of interest for QHSP.  In addition, thematic layers of  wetland habitats, agricultural land use, and endangered birds and plants will be created for a study area including the park and the surrounding landscape.
 2.  The presentation of the thematic layers in two-dimensional cartographic format for analysis and visualization.
 3.  The development of  a  habitat acquisition model to identify suitable wetland habitat in the study area  that may be acquired or preserved to enhance the biodiversity of  bird and plant habitats within QHSP.
     The results of this thesis will demonstrate the value of GIS as a planning and decision-
support tool  for QHSP  management.  The GIS database registered to real-world coordinates gives park management a valuable tool for visualization of animal habitats and vegetation communities within park boundaries and adjacent land use.  Although this thesis focuses on  Quail Hollow State Park, the results may be applied to other parks of similar size and features. The contributions of this work include the theoretical and practical experience in integrating various data sources and formats for a decision support system and the fine tuning of GIS functions for solving real world problems.
     Maintaining the viable biodiversity within Quail Hollow State Park  is of prime concern in order that this "ecological greenway" will survive for future generations.   The value of this thesis lies in technology applications but it also contributes to the aesthetic ideals of park biodiversity and visitor/user vitality.
     The thesis is divided into the following chapters:

Chapter I: Introduction

Chapter II: Problems in Creating a GIS
 This chapter focuses on the problems of creating a GIS for park management.  Data conversion problems, accuracy and precision of the database, and using GIS for habitat acquisition planning are discussed.

Chapter III: Review of Relevant Literature
 This chapter reviews the background of literature related to the study with respect to the components of GIS, data sources, GPS (global positioning systems), remote sensing, landscape ecology, and land acquisition.

Chapter IV: Study Site Description
 The study site is Quail Hollow State Park near Hartville, Ohio.  It is one of  72 primary  reserves in the state. There are  descriptions of park habitats and communities in this chapter.

Chapter V: Methodology
 This chapter describes detailed methods of data  acquisition  and conversion techniques used in this thesis.  Aerial photography as a data source  is discussed and the techniques of scanning and integration into the ARC/INFO GIS database are explained.

Chapter VI. Representation of Data Layers Using Maps
 Maps of  data layers created for the Quail Hollow GIS project are created from data layers  using  ARCVIEW GIS software.  There are individual and multiple thematic maps of data layers.

Chapter VII.  The Habitat Acquisition Model (HAM)
 The Sharp-shinned hawk is used as an example to identify types of habitats the bird uses and areas of similar habitat in the study area.  Areas are identified using GIS spatial functions and queries.

Chapter VIII.  Concluding Remarks
 A summary of the research and recommendations for further study are covered in this final chapter.

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