In ecological studies the recent emphasis on larger study areas over longer time spans has coincided with the development of geographical information systems (GIS). GISs are a set of computer hardware and software for analyzing and displaying spatially referenced features (i.e., points, lines, polygons) with non-geographic attributes (i.e., species, age). In the fields of natural resources management and ecology the GIS has been used most frequently for 1) derivation of area or length measures, 2) spatial intersection functions such as file merging, analysis of spatial coincidence and detection of temporal change, 3) proximity analyses, and 4) derivation of data for input in simulation or growth models or calculation of specific metrics. Several current applications of GISs in ecology and natural resources are reviewed.
- geographical information system
- natural resources