Integrating Conservation into Planning Processes

Conservation areas can provide a variety of benefits to localities, including improving public health, raising property values, and sustaining ecosystems. Proactive conservation strategies are the best way to ensure those benefits accrue.

"Instead of thinking about conservation areas as 'the leftover' areas that have not been accommodated for other purposes, planners were encouraged to integrate conservation into their planning processes," at a recent Tuesdays at APA-DC event, reports Erin Musiol.

"Conservation areas set out to protect the most biologically diverse areas of a community. They contain rare and imperiled species and their habitat and protect and enhance ecosystem processes and services," she explains. "To be viable, conservation areas need to be large in size and well connected to other conservation areas. As communities face issues of population growth, fragmentation, pollution, and climate change, finding and protecting suitable conservation areas becomes more challenging."

However, marshalling the political and economic resources to proactively designate properties for conservation is a challenge. "Despite these challenges, strategically planning for conservation is easier (and less expensive and more successful) than trying to reconstruct or restore conservation value after the land has been degraded."

Musiol goes on to describe some of the resources and tools available to planners to help in conservation planning efforts.

Full Story: Conservation as a Land Use

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