The U.S. Geological Survey has released the first large-scale assessment of the nation's natural resource heritage in a two-volume report, "Status and Trends of the Nation's Biological Resources." At century end, this report synthesizes current information within a historical perspective to document how the nation's biological resources are changing. The report also underscores the essential need for science to be used in guiding decisions on resource management.
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, said, "This study is a CT scan of our nation, and like a doctor, it can give us a diagnosis as to what we need to do to restore the health of our living landscapes. The rest is up to us."
Almost 200 federal, academic, and non-governmental experts provided baseline information of value to scientists, policy makers, resource managers and the public. The 1,000-page scientifically peer-reviewed report, written in non-technical language, details both the issues affecting biological resources and the status and trends of specific regions.
USGS Director Charles Groat said that this report, along with efforts to establish uniform standards for collecting biological information, is allowing the inventory and monitoring program of the Survey's Biological Resources Division to "do what USGS does best--provide scientifically sound, impartial, and relevant information."
Dennis Fenn, Chief Biologist for the USGS-BRD, commenting on how the report was assembled, said, "It was a truly collaborative endeavor among scientists from throughout the nation who came together to synthesize existing and new information so that we can all know the state of our natural resource legacy."
Volume One covers seven factors affecting biological resources nationwide: natural processes, land use, water use, climate change, nonindigenous species, environmental contaminants and harvest.