Geodataset Name:       CRITICAL_LINKAGES_2005
Geodataset Type:       SHAPEFILE
Geodataset Feature:    Polygon
Feature Count:         10
This data set contains the Florida Ecological Greenways Network and Critical Linkages Prioritization Results approved by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council in November 2005. Critical Linkages are the most important areas for protecting large connected landscapes in Florida. Critical Linkages represent the areas most important for linking existing conservation areas and protecting wildlife corridors for wide-ranging species such as the Florida panther and Florida black bear but are also threatened by imminent development pressure. This update of the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) prioritization was needed to address changes in the base boundary of the FEGN that was adopted by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council in 2004. For more information, see the report by the University of Florida for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways and Trails titled "Reprioritization of the Florida Ecological Greenways Network based on the New Base Boundaries Adopted in 2004".
DATA SOURCE(S):                    University of Florida GeoPlan Center
GEODATASET EXTENT:                 State of Florida


8 Number
8 String
50 String
46 String
36 Date
4 Geometry
4 Integer
0 Double
0 Double


Item Description
OBJECTID Unique ID added by GeoPlan

PRIORITY Priority rank where 1 = highest priority

CRIT_LINK "Yes" indicates that the project area is a Critical Linkage

NAME Name given to Critical Linkage projects


FGDLAQDATE Date GeoPlan downloaded data from source

SHAPE Feature geometry.

AUTOID Unique ID added by GeoPlan

SHAPE.AREA Area in meters

SHAPE.LEN Length in meters

This data is provided "as is". GeoPlan relied on the integrity of the original data layer's topology
It should be noted that some existing conservation lands are included within the 
Ecological Greenways Network prioritization results.  The areas of overlap between 
Critical Linkages and various priority levels and existing conservation lands is 
intended to show connectivity to larger conservation lands and the role of smaller 
conservation lands in priority areas.  However, the inclusion of existing conservation 
lands is not meant to serve as a comprehensive analysis or depiction of the significance 
of all existing conservation lands to the Ecological Greenways Network.  The Ecological 
Greenways Network prioritization results are intended to help prioritize lands for 
existing and future conservation land protection (acquisition, easement, and incentive) 
programs.  To best view and use this dataset, the most updated version of existing 
conservation lands from Florida Natural Areas Inventory (or available through FGDL) 
should be used as an overlay.
GeoPlan relied on the integrity of the attribute information within
the original data.
Since 1995, The University of Florida has been working with the Florida 
Department of Environmental Protection to assist in the development of the 
Florida Statewide Greenways Plan.  The University of Florida was asked to 
develop a decision support model to help identify the best opportunities to 
protect ecological connectivity statewide.  Geographic information systems 
(GIS) software was used to analyze all of the best available data on land 
use data and significant ecological areas including important habitats for 
native species, important natural communities, wetlands, roadless areas, 
floodplains, and important aquatic ecosystems.  The original priorities were 
developed in 2002.  However, the boundaries of the Florida Ecological
Greenways Network were updated 2004, which required this update to the 
prioritization completed in 2005.

All of this information was then integrated in a process that identified 
a statewide Ecological Greenways Network containing all of the largest areas 
of ecological and natural resource significance and the landscape linkages 
necessary to link these areas together in one functional statewide network.  
The process was collaborative and overseen by three separate state-appointed 
greenways councils.  During the development of the model, technical input was 
obtained from the Florida Greenways Commission, Florida Greenways Coordinating 
Council, state, regional, and federal agencies, scientists, university personnel, 
conservation groups, planners and the general public in over 20 sessions.  When 
the modeling was completed, the results were thoroughly reviewed in public 
meetings statewide as part of the development of the Greenways Implementation 
Plan completed in 1999.

In 1999-2000, the Ecological Greenways Network was prioritized, reviewed, and 
approved by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council.  The approved prioritization 
separated the Network into 6 priority levels to delineate degrees of significance 
and to support strategic protection efforts.  The ecological greenways were 
prioritized in a two step process.  First, two meetings with staff from the 
Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 
Commission, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, the Water Management Districts, and 
other agencies and groups were conducted to discuss criteria and data for selecting 
priorities.  Based on these meetings, the University of Florida developed a GIS 
model that refined and modified the original ecological greenways model process to 
identify features within the ecological greenways model results that were either 
high, moderate, or lower priorities for protecting statewide connectivity.

The next step involved separating areas identified as high and moderate
priorities into even more refined classes of priority using a general set of 
criteria.  Though the original prioritization was used to support this effort,  
more refined priorities were needed to serve as a better planning tool.  The 
following criteria was used to place potential landscape linkage and corridor 
projects into more refined priority classes:

1) Potential importance for maintaining or restoring populations of
wide-ranging species (e.g., Florida black bear and Florida panther)

2) Importance for maintaining a statewide, connected reserve network
from south Florida through the panhandle.

3) Other important landscape linkages that provide additional
opportunities to maintain statewide connectivity especially in support

4) Importance as a riparian corridor to protect water resources, 
provide functional habitat gradients, and to possibly provide 
connectivity to areas within other states.
of higher priority linkages.

The Florida Greenways Program implementation report (1998) included the 
identification of critical linkages as the next step following prioritization 
in the process of protecting an ecological greenways network across the state.  
Critical linkages serve as more defined project areas that are most important 
for protecting the Florida Ecological Greenways Network.  Such critical linkages 
are to be approved by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council on an iterative
basis as linkages are protected or priorities change over time.

Two primary data sets were used to delineate the first iteration of critical 
linkages.  To define linkages that are most critical to the protection of the 
Florida Ecological Greenways Network, prioritization based on both ecological 
criteria and level of threat by conversion to development (development pressure)
is needed.  For ecological-based prioritization, the prioritization process 
described above that categorized the Florida Ecological Greenways Network into 
six priority levels was used (Fig. 1; Hoctor et al. 2001).  

Development pressure was modeled by Jason Teisinger (2002).  These analyses 
were then combined to identify candidate areas for selection as Critical Linkages.  
Areas were selected that had either very high ecological significance or high 
ecological significance while also having critical areas threatened by development.  

Ten areas were selected for Critical Linkage status and these areas will now 
serve as the highest priorities for protecting landscape connectivity through the 
Florida Forever Program, Save Our Rivers program, and for other conservation 
initiatives where state, regional, and local government can work with willing 
landowners to protect our best remaining large, connected landscapes statewide.

This data was created as part of the Florida Statewide Greenways Planning 
Process.  The Florida Ecological Greenways Network identifies the opportunities 
to protect large, intact landscapes important for conserving Florida's biodiversity 
and ecosystem services.

It should also be considered that this dataset is based on a GRID with a resolution of 
180 meters (180 m X 180 m cells), which is approximately 8 acre squares.  Therefore, 
users should not expect detailed accuracy at high resolutions.  The modeling and 
identification effort of a statewide ecological network is intended to serve as a 
general basis for state level conservation planning.  It may serve as an adequate 
framework or guide for regional and local conservation planning efforts, but it should 
be supplemented by more resolute datasets and analyses especially at the local level.  
The conservation/land protection process should also always include ground-truthing to 
evaluate sites in the field.  In addition, these data are based on land use information 
that, by its nature, is outdated.  An effort was made to update land use data provided 
by the Water Management Districts, mostly completed in 1990, by comparing this data with 
1994-1995 SPOT 10 meter resolution imagery.  All areas that appeared to be converted to 
development (residential, commercial, industrial but not including conversion to intensive 
agriculture) were added to avoid identifying areas as ecologically significant that are 
now developed.  However, it should be obvious that development continues at a rapid pace, 
and areas identified in the model results could now be converted to intensive land uses 
or could be converted in the near future.

This data is provided 'as is' and its vertical positional accuracy has not been verified by GeoPlan


A note about data scale: 

Scale is an important factor in data usage.  Certain scale datasets
are not suitable for some project, analysis, or modeling purposes.
Please be sure you are using the best available data. 

1:24000 scale datasets are recommended for projects that are at the
county level.
1:24000 data should NOT be used for high accuracy base mapping such
as property parcel boundaries.
1:100000 scale datasets are recommended for projects that are at the
multi-county or regional level.
1:125000 scale datasets are recommended for projects that are at the
regional or state level or larger.

Vector datasets with no defined scale or accuracy should be
considered suspect. Make sure you are familiar with your data
before using it for projects or analysis. Every effort has been
made to supply the user with data documentation. For additional
information, see the References section and the Data Source Contact
section of this documentation. For more information regarding
scale and accuracy, see our webpage at:

See the University of Florida Final Report (available as a pdf 
document on the web at www.geoplan.ufl.edu) for the modeling process 
used to create the original Ecological Greenways Network:


Carr, Margaret H., Paul D.  Zwick, Thomas S.  Hoctor and Mark A.  
Benedict Final Report, Phase II, Florida Statewide Greenways 
Planning Project, Department of Landscape Architecture, 
University of Florida, February, 1999.

Cox, J., Kautz, R., MacLaughlin, M., and Gilbert, T.  1994.  
Closing the gaps in Florida's wildlife habitat conservation system.  
Tallahassee, FL:  Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, 
Office of Environmental Services.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida 
Greenways Coordinating Council. 1998. Connecting Florida's 
Communities with Greenways and Trails, The Five Year Implementation 
Plan for the Florida Greenways and Trails System. Tallahassee, FL.

Florida Greenways Commission.  1994.  Creating a Statewide Greenways 
System For People...For Wildlife...For Florida - Florida Greenways 
Commission Report to the Governor.  Tallahassee, FL:  1000 Friends of Florida.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  1995.  Florida Natural Areas Inventory 
Datasets.  Tallahassee, FL:  Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Harris, L.D.  1985.  Conservation Corridors:  a highway system for 
wildlife.  ENFO:85-5.  Winter Park:  FL:  Florida Conservation Foundation.

Harris, L.  D., T.  Hoctor, D.  Maehr and J.  Sanderson.  1996.  
The role of networks and corridors in enhancing the value and protection 
of parks and equivalent areas.  Pp.  173-198 in Wright, R.  G., ed.  
National Parks and Protected Areas:  Their Role in Environmental Areas.  
Cambridge, MA:  Blackwell Science.

Hoctor, T. S., M. H. Carr, P. D. Zwick. 2000. Identifying a linked 
reserve system using a regional landscape approach: the Florida 
ecological network. Conservation Biology 14:984-1000.

Hoctor, T. S., J. Teisinger, M. H. Carr, P. D. Zwick. 2001. 
Ecological Greenways Network Prioritization for the State of Florida.  
Final Report. Office of Greenways and Trails, Florida Department of 
Environmental Protection. Tallahassee, FL.

Hoctor, T. S., J. Teisinger, M. H. Carr, P. D. Zwick. 2002. 
Identification of Critical Linkages Within the Florida Ecological 
Greenways Network.  Final Report. Office of Greenways and Trails, 
Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Tallahassee, FL.

Noss, R.  F.  1987.  Protecting natural areas in fragmented landscapes.  
Natural Areas Journal 7:2-13.

Noss, R.  F.  and L.  D.  Harris.  1986.  Nodes, Networks and MUMs:  
Preserving Diversity at All Scales.  Environment
Management 10:299-309.

Pritchard, P.C.H., and Kale, H.W.  1994.  Saving what's left.  
Casselberry, FL:  Florida Audubon Society.

Smith, D.S., and P.C.  Hellmund, Eds.  1993.  Ecology of 
Greenways - Design and Function of Linear Conservation Areas.  
Minneapolis, MN:  University of Minneapolis Press.

Teisinger, Jason. 2002. Where will we grow? Using Geographic
Information Systems to determine Florida statewide residential 
growth potential. Masters Project. College of Design, Construction 
and Planning, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University 
of Florida.

The Nature Conservancy.  1991.  Preservation 2000 Charette and Map.  
Tallahassee, FL:  The Nature Conservancy.

University of Florida.  1996.  Final Report for Phase I of the 
Statewide Greenways System Planning Project. Gainesville, FL:  
University of Florida, Department of Landscape Architecture and 
GeoPlan Center, Department of Urban
and Regional Planning.

The adoption of new base boundaries of the Florida Ecological Greenways 
Network (FEGN) in 2004 by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council resulted 
in additions to the FEGN that were not prioritized since the first delineation of 
priorities completed in 2002 preceded the boundary update.  There were three 
primary goals of reprioritization:

1) Delineate priority classes for new additions to the FEGN adopted in 2004.
2) Simplify priority classes to solidify the identity of the areas most important for 
completing a statewide FEGN.
3) Determine whether any changes in priority classes are warranted especially 
regarding  Critical Linkages.

There were three major steps undertaken to reprioritize the FEGN.  The first 
step assigned priority classes to the FEGN additions based on the nearest and 
connected existing priority class.  The second step combined the original priority 
classes 2 and 3 into one new priority 2 class.  This resulted in 6 priority classes 
versus the original 7 classes.  The final step included all of the additional 
recommended changes in priority classes based on re-assessment of development 
pressure, logical consolidations or other edits of priority boundaries, and new 
conservation projects relevant to protecting the high priorities within the FEGN.   

A draft set of changes were presented in a technical review meeting in August 
2005 with staff from Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Florida Fish and Wildlife 
Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the 
Water Management Districts, and the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  
Their recommendations for modifying the draft reprioritization were the primary basis 
for the proposed priority changes.  However, some minor additional changes were 
added based on further analysis by the University of Florida and the Office of 
Greenways and Trails.  The process used to develop the updated Ecological 
Greenways Network priorities is described in much more detail in the prioritization 
update report (Hoctor and Carr 2005), which is available from the Florida 
Department of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways and Trails or 
can be downloaded at www.geoplan.ufl.edu.
Process Date: 20051201

Geoplan removed numerous slivers using the eliminate tool within arc toolbox. Names were removed from records that were not catergorized as critical linkages. Process Date: 20060405
GeoPlan, during the QAQC process, performed the following: -UPCASED attribute table. -Calculated DESCRIPT field based on NAME -Added FGDLAQDATE. Process Date: 20060721
Metadata imported. Process Date:

Projection                          ALBERS
Datum                               HPGN
Units                               METERS
Spheroid                            GRS1980
1st Standard Parallel               24  0  0.000
2nd Standard Parallel               31 30  0.000
Central Meridian                   -84 00  0.000
Latitude of Projection's Origin     24  0  0.000
False Easting (meters)              400000.00000
False Northing (meters)             0.00000


Abbr. Name:


Web site:
Contact Person:
University of Florida GeoPlan Center
431 Architecture PO Box 115706
Gainesville, FL

http://www.fgdl.org/download/index.html tomh@geoplan.ufl.edu Tom Hoctor

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