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A Framework for Evaluating Land Use Planning Alternatives: Protecting Biodiversity on Private Land

David Theobald, Colorado State University/The Nature Conservancy
N. Thompson Hobbs, Colorado State University/Colorado Division of Wildlife

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Abstract

Planning activities by local government often seek to identify areas of land that offer particularly high value for conserving biotic resources. Because private land is being developed rapidly, there is heightened concern about identifying these areas. Although general principles on setting priorities for habitat protection are emerging, substantial ambiguity remains about how to implement these principles. Here, we offer a general modeling framework for evaluating how planning alternatives could affect Critical Habitat. The framework contains four components: stakeholder involvement, spatial modeling of Critical Habitat and development patterns, analysis of alternative scenarios, and evaluation and monitoring. We illustrate this approach using a case study from Summit County, Colorado, USA.

Key words

alternative scenarios, biodiversity, build-out analysis, critical habitat maps, evaluation, habitat protection, local decision making, monitoring, private land use planning, rural sprawl, spatial modeling, stakeholder involvement
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087