Two primary goals of GAP are to provide an assessment of the management status of biodiversity elements, and to provide land stewards with information on the representation of these elements on their land so they can make informed decisions about their management practices regarding biodiversity. To accomplish this, the mapped distribution of vegetation communities and terrestrial vertebrate species are compared to a map of land stewardship. In GAP, the land stewardship map combines attributes of ownership, management, and a measure of intent to maintain biodiversity. Florida GAP is fortunate to have these products as created by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
These comparisons do not consider viability, but
are a start to assessing the likelihood of future threat to a biotic
element from habitat conversion-the most obvious cause of biodiversity
Protected- This status includes areas, such as those "dedicated" under appropriate statutes, which specifically prohibit removing the existing, strong, legal protections without obtaining the approval of higher levels of government and without following very specific legal procedures. It also includes any land owned as a natural area by The Nature Conservancy or other conservation group with similar conservation objectives.
Semi-protected- This status for national Wildlife Refuges, National Recreation Areas, state wildlife refuges, and like areas; i.e. areas protected but not specifically for the rarest Elements, and often allowing habitat manipulations for game species, song bird cover, etc. Certain other areas might be included here such as zones within parks which are designated for a special use that may not fully protect important Element Occurrences.
Multiple Use- Areas that are neither preserved nor protected. Examples include National Forest land which is not specially designated; public domain land (BLM); and any other land including registry and voluntary protection sites that do not meet the above "protected" or "semi-protected" definitions.