Ecological Settings

The ecological settings products include a broad suite of static as well as dynamic abiotic and biotic variables representing the natural and anthropogenic environment at each location (cell). Static variables are those that do not change over time (e.g., elevation, incident solar radiation). Dynamic settings are available for 2010 and 2080; static settings are available for 2010. Dynamic variables are those that change over time in response to succession and the drivers (e.g., growing season degree days, traffic rate). Most of the settings variables are continuous and thus represent landscape heterogeneity as continuous (e.g., slope, biomass), although some are categorical and thus represent heterogeneity as discrete (e.g., developed, hard development). Importantly, the settings variables include a broad but parsimonious suite of attributes that can be used to define the ecological system at any point in time; they are considered primary determinants of ecosystem composition, structure and function, and determine the ecological similarity between any two locations. As such, they play a key role in the ecological integrity assessment, they are used in species’ habitat models to represent important habitat components, as appropriate, and are sometimes used in other model components. The settings provide a rich, multivariate representation of important landscape attributes.

Version numbers used by DSL:
3.x represents our first regional dataset as used in Natures network
5.x represents the updates released in 2020, primarily in landcover which then affected most other products.
6.x is used only for species and is compatible with 5.x landcover but also includes updated climate data thus making the species products different than the 5.x species.

1.      Aquatic barriers [updated 10/14/2021]


2.     Biomass [updated 4/24/2018]


3.     CaCO3 (Calcium) content [updated 3/18/2020]


4.     Development (includes development and hard development settings): [updated 3/18/2020]


5.     Stream gradient [updated 3/18/2020]


6.     Traffic rate [updated 3/18/2020]


7.      Temperature (includes mean annual temperature, growing season degree days, heat index, minimum winter temperature, and maximum summer temperature settings) [updated 6/27/2018]


8.     Precipitation (includes total annual precipitation and growing season precipitation settings) [updated 7/17/2018]


9.     Incident solar radiation [updated 4/20/2018]


10.  Percent imperviousness [updated 3/18/2020]


11.   Potential dominant life form [updated 3/18/2020]


12.  Slope [updated 4/20/2018]


13.  Soils (includes depth to resistant layer, soil pH, and available water supply settings): [updated 4/20/2018]


14.  Stream temperature [updated 3/18/2020]


15.  Substrate mobility [updated 3/18/2020]


16.  Terrestrial barriers [updated 3/18/2020]


17.   Tides [updated 4/20/2018]


18.  Topographic wetness and flow volume [updated 3/18/2020]


19.  Water salinity [updated 3/18/2020]


20. Wind exposure [updated 4/20/2018]