filed under: conservation
Team (PIT) was chartered to address this recommendation from Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 21st century strategic vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Our charge was to investigate how Refuge System planning will address large-scale conservation challenges such as climate change, while maintaining the integrity of management and conservation delivery within our boundaries.
This report is our proposal for “A Landscape-Scale Approach to Refuge System Planning.” It recommends that we focus the next generation of planning on Landscape Conservation Designs (LCDs), developed by the greater conservation community through partnership in Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs). LCDs are consistent with Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) and are a partnership-driven conservation strategy that identifies desired future conditions and management prescriptions at multiple scales across jurisdictions. Key to our recommendation is incorporating LCDs into the preplanning phase of every Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Land Protection Plan (LPP). With limited exceptions, no CCP or LPP should be developed until after an LCD has been completed. We envision that LCDs would include multiple refuges within a defined geographic area that leads to a single, broader CCP with step-down management plans to address site-specific management.
Many refuges already employ a landscape-scale conservation approach, but we need to increase these efforts and incorporate the LCD approach across the entire Refuge System. The Refuge System can be a catalyst for change throughout the greater conservation planning community and become a primary partner in the LCC network’s design efforts. We also need to incorporate and more clearly communicate biological, social, and economic science into Refuge System plans at all scales.
In addition to recommending an approach for landscape-scale planning, the report also addresses: CCP revisions and amendments, plan schedules and tracking, standardized templates, and some policy changes required to fully implement these recommendations. While some of the strategies will result in streamlining and efficiencies, others require more technical expertise, training, and staff.
Our recommendations apply only to the Refuge System, but it is our hope that other Service programs join us in basing their program-specific management plans on LCDs.
Published June 2013
This research investigated the influence of several use-related, environmental, and managerial factors on soil loss on recreational trails and roads at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the U.S. National Park Service.
The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails.
This research assessed the condition and sustainability of the trail system at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, a National Park Service unit that partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the management of this unit.
This research investigates the influence of layout and design on the severity of trail degradation.