ASMT initiates the Landscape Conservation Design process

The ASMT re-assembled at the end of June 2015 to discuss Landscape Conservation Design (LCD) as an approach to developing a conservation Blueprint for the GCPO region.  The interactive meeting was held using MeetingSphere software.  Science Coordinator Todd Jones-Farrand led the team through a presentation on LCD – what is it, why do we need it, & a proposal for how are we going to go about it – which was interspersed with brainstorming & discussion activities.  The full set of notes, including action items, can be accessed here.

The Process

The proposed LCD approach for the GCPO is composed of 3 main elements – a bottom-up assessment of current conservation investments, a top-down assessment of landscape conditions & threats, and a strategy framework that combines these assessments with species models to identify efficient adaptation strategies.  In general, ASMT members liked the logical flow of the approach, combination of "top-down" and "bottom-up" approaches, and the incorporation of existing efforts & data.  However, they noted that the devil was in the details & made many suggestions for clarifications or improvements.

The 1st element is a bottom-up assessment of the current priorities & activities of the conservation community in the GCPO. The purpose of this element is to leverage the good work we are already doing across the GCPO and will result in both a database & a map.  The database, tentatively called the Partner Priorities and Investment Database, will catalogue scope, scale, extent, intensity & collaborative nature of conservation plans & projects.  The accompanying map will provide a spatial depiction of those efforts for the various habitat systems of the GCPO.   ASMT members viewed this element as very valuable & provided more than 40 plans or partnerships to consider for inclusion in the database.

The 2nd element is a top-down assessment of the landscapes of the GCPO.  The purpose of this element is to provide a scientific (i.e. transparent, replicable & defensible) approach to identifying the next best places for collaborative conservation effort.  The approach will take the form of a Rule Set applied to existing data.  The ASMT favored keeping the Rule Set consistent across habitat systems and geographies and developing 2 maps for each habitat system – where are the best places to protect (i.e. already in good condition) and where are the best places to restore.  The ASMT also wrestled with some potential criteria to include in the Rule Set favoring the inclusion of protected lands (+),the presence of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) or other priority species (+),and risk of urbanization (+/- depending) as ranking criteria.

The 3rd element is strategy framework that uses species targets and models to answer how much is enough and what is the most efficient way to get it in the face of future changes?  The purpose of this element is to tie the other elements together into a dynamic decision support tool that allows the assessment of alternative adaptation strategies to identify what conservation approaches are most likely to achieve our shared goal of sustainable landscapes.  This element was introduced in the June meeting but will be fleshed out after the other elements are complete.

Next Steps

The ASMT will break out into subgroups for the next meeting – terrestrial resource representatives will split out by sub-geography of the GCPO and aquatics folks will meet as a separate group.  Subgroup meetings are being scheduled for mid-August to mid-September.  We are also targeting additional experts/representatives to join the subgroup meetings.


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