USGS - science for a changing world

Gap Analysis No. 15

Gap Analysis—A Geographic Approach to Planning for Biological Diversity

The Gap Analysis Program ... in Brief

The Mission of the Gap Analysis Program (GAP) <> is to promote conservation by providing broad geographic information on biological diversity to resource managers, planners, and policy makers who can use the information to make informed decisions.

As part of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) <>—a collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources--GAP data and analytical tools have been used in hundreds of applications: from basic research to comprehensive state wildlife plans; from educational projects in schools to ecoregional assessments of biodiversity.

The challenge: keeping common species common means protecting them BEFORE they become threatened. To do this on a state or regional basis requires key information such as land cover descriptions, predicted distribution maps for native animals, and an assessment of the level of protection currently given to those plants and animals.

GAP works cooperatively with Federal, state, and local natural resource professionals and academics to provide this kind of information. GAP activities focus on the creation of state and regional databases and maps that depict patterns of land management, land cover, and biodiversity. These data can be used to identify “gaps” in conservation--instances where an animal or plant community is not adequately represented on the existing network of conservation lands.

GAP is administered through the U.S. Geological Survey. Through building partnerships among disparate groups, GAP hopes to foster the kind of collaboration that is needed to address conservation issues on a broad scale.

For more information, contact:

John Mosesso
National GAP Director

Kevin Gergely
National GAP Operations Manager


Assigning Conservation Management Status to Alaska's Lands
     Corine Smith, Shane Feirer, Randy Hagenstein, Amalie Couvillon, and Sarah Leonard
Using GAP Data to Promote Land Trust Goals
     Jill Maxwell and Karen Dvornich
Biodiversity Data for Land Conservation: A Case Study
     Klugh Jordan
Land Cover Map for Map Zones 8 and 9 Developed from SAGEMAP, GNN, and SWReGAP: A pilot for NWGAP
     James S. Kagan, Janet L. Ohmann, Matthew Gregory, and Claudine Tobalske
Testing the Utility of High Resolution SPOT Data to Determine Physiognomic Classes for Modeling Ecological Systems in the Northern Rockies Ecoregion
     Anne Davidson
A Habitat Modeling Database for the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project
     Kenneth G. Boykin and Robert A. Deitner
Novel Approaches to Mapping Vertebrate Occurrence for the Northwest Gap Analysis Project
     Jocelyn Aycrigg and Gary Beauvais
Using GAP in Landbird Biological Objective-Setting: Process and Examples from Oak Habitats in the Pacific Northwest
     Erin Stockenberg, Bob Altman, Michael Green, and John Alexander
Use of Explicit Decision Rules for Identification of Conservation Priorities in Eastern San Diego County
     Adam Wagschal and Melanie Ann Casey
Improving Predicted Distribution Models for Riverine Species: An Example from Nebraska
     Scott P. Sowa, Gust Annis, Micheal E. Morey, and A. Garringer
Ohio Aquatic Gap Analysis
     S. Alex Covert, Stephanie P. Kula, and Laura A. Simonson
Hawaii Gap Analysis Project
     Dwight H. Matsuwaki and Dr. Barbara A. Gibson
Wisconsin Gap Analysis Project
     Jill Maxwell
Nebraska Gap Analysis Project
     G.M. Henebry, M.R. Vaitkus, and J.W. Merchant
Northwest Regional Gap (NWGAP)
Southeast Gap Analysis Regional (SE-GAP)

This bulletin is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Download the bulletin (PDF, 3.75 MB)

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Adobe Reader 8.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

Send questions or comments about this report to Jill Maxwell, (208) 885-3550.

For more information about the GAP Analysis Program, visit

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Publications Team
Page Last Modified: Monday, 03-Mar-2008 17:03:07 EST