Landforms, Northern Appalachians

May 14, 2014 (Last modified Aug 23, 2017)
Uploaded by Northeast
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A "landform" is any physical, recognizable form or feature on the earth's surface that has a characteristic shape and that is produced by natural causes (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service). Landforms are largely responsible for local variation in solar radiation, soil development, moisture availability, and susceptibility to wind and other disturbance. They therefore have a large influence on plant productivity and species distributions. This dataset maps 17 landforms that are commonly found in the Northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.

This dataset was developed by The Nature Conservancy as part of "Resilient Sites for Terrestrial Conservation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region" found here:

Landform is a compound measure, which can be decomposed into the primary terrain attributes of elevation, slope, aspect, surface curvature, and upslope catchment area. The wide availability and improving of quality of digital elevation data has made the quantification of primary terrain attributes a simple matter. Compound topographic indices have been derived from those primary attributes to model various ecological process. For this dataset, we adopted the Fels and Matson (1997) approach to landform modeling. They described a metric that combines information on slope and landscape position to define topographic units such as ridges, sideslopes, coves, and flats on the landscape. Details on the methods used are provided in Appendix II of the Resilient Sites report cited above.

Using this approach, we mapped the following landforms:
Flat summit/ridgetop
Steep slope cooler aspect
Steep slope warmer aspect
Slope crest
Low hilltop flat
Low hill
Sideslope cooler aspect
Sideslope warmer aspect
Cove or footslope cooler aspect
Cove or footslope warmer aspect
Valley/toe slope
Flat at bottom of steep slope
Dry flat
Wet flat
Data Provided By:
The Nature Conservancy
Data Hosted by:
ScienceBase (USGS) View Record
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Content date:
2003-08-13 (Publication Date)
Contact Organization:
Eastern Division Conservation Science of The Nature Conservancy
Contact Person(s):
not specified
Use Constraints:
The Nature Conservancy compiled this data set from publicly available data sources and this data is freely distributable without permission from Eastern Division Conservation Science. This data set must be cited on all electronic and hard copy products using the language of the Data Set Credit. The Nature Conservancy shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein. Any sale, distribution, loan, or offering for use of these digital data, in whole or in part, is prohibited without the approval of The Nature Conservancy. The use of these data to produce other GIS products and services with the intent to sell for a profit is prohibited without the written consent of The Nature Conservancy. All parties receiving these data must be informed of these restrictions. The Nature Conservancy shall be acknowledged as data contributors to any reports or other products derived from these data.
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Administration account for the Northeast Conservation Planning Atlas.