This grant is part of a two-section grant, equally awarded to Dr. Allen-Diaz, UC Berkeley School of Natural Resources, and to my lab at UC Davis. Dr Allen-Diaz is the curator of a unique collection of vegetation data, the Wieslander collection, developed across a decade in the 1930s. This collection includes over 11,000 vegetation plots and hand-drawn vegetation maps of approximately 2/5th of California. Dr. Jim Thorne (ICE) organized a working group of vegetation ecologists from the state, including Drs. Michael Barbour (UC Davis), Dr. Todd Keeler-Wolf (California Vegetation Ecologist), and Dr. Robert Taylor (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area) and many others, which collected an accounting of all projects previously done with these data. The result was a renewed interest by the US Forest Service in this data source.
The current ICE Project is to complete an inventory of the paper maps (numbering over 500, representing several types of information) and to develop the methodologies for how to scan, geo-rectify, digitize and attribute individual quads. Once the methods for bringing an individual quad into the GIS world have been worked out, we will be able to recruit funding from land managers on a quad-by-quad basis to fund the production of the entire set of maps. Research questions, aside from the technical aspects of map production that are still to be determined, revolve primarily around the possibility of comparing the 70-year old vegetation extents to their contemporary equivalents. Dr. Thorne is proposing to test the concept using a Wieslander quad from Napa County, where he just completed the development of a new (2003) digital vegetation map, using National Vegetation Classification Standards.
You can contact Dr. Thorne for more information.