Multi-State FQA Calculations Now Supported

20 July 2009 - 16:34
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As we explain in this article, Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) calculations are location-specific. A plant that is endemic and valuable in one location may be a noxious weed in another. Hence FQA studies only make sense when the calculations are done using coefficient of conservatism (CoC) values for the particular location of interest.

Most CoC values have been determined for state-sized jurisdictions. Comprehensive databases have been compiled for Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan. We have imported all these data into our plants database here at the RPA web site, and we now can generate FQAs using the particular data for each of these states. These additional data have increased the number of plant species in our database from about 3000 to just under 5000!

When creating or editing a location, you can now set its default state — which determines which CoC values are used for all FQA calculations at that location. (Ideally, we’d let Google Maps figure out which state contains the location, but this won’t work for locations crossing state lines or for locations in states without current CoC values — though it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to do FQAs there anyway.) The operative state defaults to Kansas, since that is where RPA is most active.

In the plants database you will see listed for each plant the states for which we have CoC values for that plant. We also show that information when you’re selecting plants for inclusion. Theoretically you’ll know exactly the right species to select and it will have a CoC value for your state. However, if the plant you think you want doesn’t have a CoC value for your state, there’s a good chance that your identification is faulty and you should pick one of the related species that does have CoC values for your location. Remember, these CoC data have been compiled by the botanical experts in your state! They’re much more likely to be right than we amateurs are.

Our plant CoC data come from several sources, and we’re grateful to them for providing this information.

As time goes on, we’ll add additional state data as it becomes available.


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