Creating BioFinder

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Creating BioFinder

Mapping Module>>Vermont Conservation Design>>>BioFinder Users>>Biodiversity: Our Natural Heritage

BioFinder was created in 2013 by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources with help of its partners to provide citizens with a tool to explore the distribution and richness of Vermont’s biodiversity and help secure our natural heritage for future generations.

BioFinder committees were staffed by members of the Geographic Information Systems Division of the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and scientists and planners from ANR’s three departments: Environmental Conservation; Fish & Wildlife; and Forests, Parks & Recreation. Additional scientific expertise came from the following agencies and organizations:

Arrowwood Environmental
Audubon Vermont
Lake Champlain Committee
The Nature Conservancy
University of Vermont
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
Vermont Center for Geographic Information
Vermont Land Trust
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
The Wildlands Network

To learn about the creation of the original BioFinder, see the 2013 BioFinder Development Report.

To learn about the 2016 update, See Draft 2016 update report.

BioFinder Mapping Module

The BioFinder mapping module consists of a Latitude Geographics Geocortex Essentials mapping front-end, consuming ArcGIS Server 10.1 GIS mapping services published by the Agency of Natural Resources. Vermont Conservation Design, Species and Community Scale and the component layer sets were published as separate ArcGIS Server mapping services.

Due to the complexity and sheer volume of data in the Vermont Conservation Design and Species and Community Scale data sets, these layers were cached for display performance.

Base map services from ESRI, Microsoft BING, and the Vermont Center for Geographic Information provide cached aerial imagery, topographic maps, and a basic boundary map. These services are consumed into the Essentials mapping module.

Tools, including the Landscape Report, and Species and Community Report tools, were developed to create user workflows that guide users through the steps needed to retrieve desired results.

Funding for BioFinder development comes in part from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Sportfish & Wildlife Restoration Program, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Vermont Conservation Design

Vermont Conservation Design is the data and the vision that is delivered through the BioFinder map interface. Learn more about Vermont Conservation Design, the science that underlies BioFinder here

Biodiversity, Our Natural Heritage

Biological diversity (biodiversity) is the variety of life and its processes. According to conservation biologists Reed Noss and Allen Copperrider, biodiversity includes fish, wildlife, plants, and other organisms, their genetic differences, the ecosystems in which they occur, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that keep them functioning, changing, and adapting.

This diversity is rooted in place, and Vermont is rich in places where variety thrives. The depths of Lake Champlain, the peaks of the Green Mountains, and the myriad meadows, forests, rivers, streams, and other natural elements in our state provide conditions that fish, wildlife, and other species find desirable and require for their survival. In many cases, such life supports the lives of others—including our own.

Although every location contributes to Vermont’s biological diversity, not all places were created equal. To map the relative contribution of each, places were ranked using the best available science in a consistent and reliable process. Determining the importance of an area is an elemental step in conservation. It supports strategic planning and helps ensure the greatest success when resources are limited. 

BioFinder is the single most comprehensive effort to synthesize Vermont’s biological diversity in map form and to make the information widely available. BioFinder is an interactive tool to inform land-use decision-making and planning, and an educational resource for exploring the richness of Vermont’s biodiversity. Go to the BioFinder Map to learn which components of biodiversity have been mapped in your area.