Large Landscape Conservation: A Strategic Framework for Policy and Action (Policy Focus Reports)

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9781558442108: Large Landscape Conservation: A Strategic Framework for Policy and Action (Policy Focus Reports)

The most important land and water conservation issues facing North America—including land use patterns, sustainable water management, biodiversity protection, and adaptation to climate change—require new approaches. While most of these conservation challenges need to be addressed at several scales simultaneously, ranging from the local to the global, it is increasingly imperative to address them at the scale of large landscapes. The territory of these issues often transcends the legal and geographic reach of existing jurisdictions and institutions.

Since no single entity has the power or authority to address cross-boundary land, water, and wildlife conservation issues, there is a gap in governance and a corresponding need to create informal and formal ways to work more effectively across legal and physical boundaries. Large landscape conservation also provides significant economic and fiscal benefits to rural and urban communities. Since taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama and his administration have made the concept of large landscape conservation a component, and often a focus, of many natural resource initiatives.

In response to increasing conservation activity at the large landscape scale, leaders from the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors participated in two national landscape management policy dialogues and many other informal discussions in 2009. Convened by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at The University of Montana, the intent of the dialogues was to synthesize what we know about large landscape conservation and to identify the most important needs as we move forward.

There is general agreement that the promise of large landscape conservation is its focus on land and water problems at an appropriate geographic scale, regardless of political and jurisdictional boundaries. While it is hard to define precisely what constitutes a large landscape conservation effort, there is a growing consensus that such efforts are multijurisdictional, multipurpose, and multistakeholder, and they operate at various geographic scales using a variety of governance arrangements and public-private partnerships.

The common currency in large landscape conservation is regional collaboration—the ability to work across boundaries with people and organizations that have diverse interests yet share a common place. While there is no single model for large landscape conservation, ten key elements are evident in the most successful efforts. Practitioners apply these elements on a case-by-case basis to create homegrown, community-based conservation solutions for particular places.

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