Sustainable Conservation Landscapes

Landscape Conservation: working through a common Conservation Framework  

The conservation framework cycle depicted above, represents an adaptive management approach that has guided conservation agencies and organizations for many years, with one exception.  The explicit introduction of a "research" component across the framework reflects a major shift in conservation over the past decade: to integrate a way of working that continues to question the underlying assumptions of our conservation approach.  This acknowledged the need to address conservation challenges in a new way and has given rise to the unprecedented efforts to deliver conservation at a landscape-level, far greater than ever before undertaken.  It has become an accepted -- and possibly the only approach that can work -- given the scale and rate of land-use change and observed impacts on natural systems from such forces a changing climate.  

The first category of courses offered "Landscape Planning and Design" examine both the Conservation Planning and Design aspect of the framework.  Specifically it introduces this new conservation paradigm -- "Landscape-level Thinking" -- and provides an introduction to a very dynamic field of research and emerging theories.  The science of Landscape Conservation is still evolving and much of what we will learn from this area will undoubtedly come from on-the-ground application, but only if the management and research branches of natural resource conservation work in tandem -- to apply the best scientific information to management decisions, monitor both the outcome and the effectiveness of the conservation network in terms of coordination and performance, and commit to systematically testing underlying assumptions.  Mankind is being forced to work in a more integrated and systems-level planning, design, and delivery to address environmental challenges that exceed the capacity of any one entity, state, or organization.  

The courses are designed to help the conservation partners and communities access key science information and tools, and to work collaboratively to plan their work to deliver on-the-ground conservation to sustain and safeguard valued resources and fulfill trust responsibilities.


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Each of the free courses include: videos, readings, presentations, discussions, a course quiz, and a downloadable certificate of completion for each separate course.  You can take as many courses as you like in any order. Individual course mastery is set at 80%. Once you achieve 80% mastery you will be prompted to download your certificate of completion. There are two separate certificates of completion, one per course.

Marxan is among the most widely used conservation planning tools throughout the world and its outputs serve as decision support for land managers and conservation practitioners alike, the Appalachian LCC is dedicated to building the technical capacity for its use. By providing this valuable training, the Appalachian LCC is facilitating the integration of emerging science and decision support tools at multiple scales. Utilizing Marxan, the Appalachian LCC and its partners will be able to identify the most effective network of conservation areas throughout the region. This facilitates strategic habitat conservation by ensuring resources are used in the most efficient manner possible to conserve landscapes capable of supporting self-sustaining populations of fish and wildlife.

Conservation planning identifies and prioritizes lands that encompass important natural and/or cultural resources across the landscape (e.g., critical watersheds, habitat for rare or threatened species) and develops protection and management strategies for these lands.