FOSSIL VERTEBRATES OF THE SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST, NEW MEXICO: A FOREST SERVICE PILOT PROJECT TO INVENTORY AND MAP FOSSIL RESOURCES
The project follows a multi-phase approach, beginning with research to create a database of fossils collected on forest land. This database includes detailed specimen and locality information, and has been compiled from museum records, publications, and related resources. The database has also been updated to ensure accuracy of information, and to add information from phase two. Localities have also been plotted in ArcGIS to aid their location and future management. The database and ArcGIS layer will be accessible to forest staff, researchers, and, to some extent, the public. The second phase involves revisiting and, if necessary, relocating sites to determine their current condition. Assessments will be made as to whether or not the site could yield fossils, whether or not poaching has occurred, and what management steps need to be taken to ensure that the site remains intact and fossil resources are used for scientific study. This work will lead to recommendations for management of fossils within the Santa Fe National Forest, including a streamlined process for permits for scientific study by researchers and recognition of paleontology as an important resource in all management documents.