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TABLE 2 State of the Environment—Regional Ecosystems

Valued Environmental Attributes (VEAs)

Regional genetic diversity, species diversity

Regional environmental diversity (i.e., types of habitat)

Biological integrity/health (e.g., Karrs Index of Biotic Integrity)

Primary productivity/energy fixation

Productive capacity of land for agriculture, forestry; soil quantity and quality (e.g., diversity of soil biota)

Air quality

Water quality

Productivity of valued plant or animal species

Stocks of nonrenewable resources: minerals, metals, fossils fuels, ect.

Hydrologic functions of landscapes: flood regulation; groundwater recharge; water supply; water filtration; river flows to support aquatic species, irrigation, recreation, transport, power

Geomorphological functions of landscape: wind and wave buffering; erosion control; sediment retention

Stability of regional climate: precipitation, temperature, humidity, storms, ect.

Contaminant/pollutant detoxification, dilution, storage by media (including air, water, soil and sediments) and biota

Biogeochemical cycling, including eutrophication

Discrete landscape features valued for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual reasons: particular mountains, waterfalls, etc.

Habitat for wildlife, including migratory corridors

Natural pest control

Wilderness, open space

Conditions and Changes of Human and Natural Origin

Winds, oceans currents

Precipitation, flooding, droughts

Regional temperatures, humidity

Hurricanes, tornadoes, dust storms, other extreme weather events

Solar radiation; cloud cover

Glaciation, sea ice

Sea level

Landform geology; erosion, sedimentation, landslides and land subsidence, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; soil types

Drainage basins; changes in river flows; groundwater depletion

Soil erosion, compaction, salinization, and degradation

Import/export of soil, nutrients, etc., to/from ecosystems; various nonpoint source pollution

Regional ambient levels of pollutants in media; long-range transport of pollutants in air, water

Forest and grass fires

Ecosystem types, land cover/land use types (extent and spatial pattern)

Distribution of native species and communities; species loss, changes in species range

Feeding areas, habitats, migration routes of wildlife

Regional habitat destruction, fragmentation; succession/retrogression

Distribution, proliferation of exotic species, less desired native species, pests, disease vectors

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