North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) Project
UMass Landscape Ecology Lab: Kevin McGarigal, Brad Compton, Ethan Plunkett, Bill DeLuca, Liz Willey and Joanna Grand .
Manager Feedback and Questionaire
This document is intended primarily for participants of the sub-regional workshops being held with partners of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC) to review the results and provide feedback on phase 1 of the DSL project, although any NALCC partner is welcome to provide feedback. Specifically, this document includes a set of questions posed to partners concerning how best to package the landscape design information resulting from the Landscape Change, Assessment and Design (LCAD) model applied to the entire Northeast in phase 2.
Criteria for Feedback
The DSL project aims to provide regionally consistent information pertaining to biodiversity conservation planning and management across the Northeast. With this aim in mind, it is important to recognize the following criteria when providing feedback: 1). All LCAD data products must be regional (i.e., Northeast) in extent. There are lots of data that would be useful to LCAD, for example digital parcel land use zoning data, if they were available across the Northeast, but we are restricted to the use of digital data that are consistent across the Northeast. 2). Approaches for modeling landscape change, assessment and design must be technically feasible given available data and current computing resources. There may be ideal approaches that are not computationally feasible given available data and/or computing resources.
1) When the LCAD model is extended to the entire Northeast in phase 2, what is the best set of geographic tiles (units) for rescaling ecological integrity and summarizing the model results?
By watershed (indicated preferred HUC level in the comment box below)
By ecoregion (indicated preferred ecoregion classification and level in the comment box below)
Other (describe alternative tiling scheme in the comment box below)
Comments and additional information:
2) Are there any LCAD data products (e.g., any grids, tables and figures disseminated to partners) that you find confusing and in need of additional explanation and guidance on its their interpretation?
Landscape Design: Land Protection
3) For the purpose of prioritizing lands for protection to meet biodiversity conservation goals, one approach is to overlay results of the coarse and fine filters. After gaining familiarity with the coarse- and fine-filter spatial data products, what spatial data layers should be overlaid and in what manner to prioritize lands for protection? Note, users will always have the option to overlay the results as they see fit for custom applications. Here, we are interested in whether we should produce one or more standard overlays of the results in order to provide a consistent product across the entire Northeast?
4) For the purpose of prioritizing lands for protection to meet biodiversity conservation goals, another approach is to use a spatial optimization algorithm (such as Marxan) to seek an optimal reserve network solution(s). This approach involves several user-defined parameters and is perhaps best applied separately by each user group to meet user-specific needs in custom applications. However, here we are interested in whether we should produce one or more standard solutions for consistency across the entire Northeast and, if so, how we should parameterize the model with regards to the following:
4a) In the absence of digital ownership parcel data, how should we define the planning units?
4b) When defining planning units, how should we treat open water? For example, we could: 1) exclude open water (ponds, lakes, and wide rivers) from the analysis (i.e.. treat it the same as developed land), 2) subdivide open water and merge it with adjacent land, 3) treat all open water as secured land, 4) treat open water the same as land and use TNC secured polygons only as secured land (currently open water is inconsistently considered secured).
4c) When defining conservation targets, should we incorporate both current and future ecological integrity and/or species habitat capability into the conservation targets and, if so, how should current versus future conservation targets be treated?
4d) How should we weight the conservation targets in either the coarse-filter scenario, fine-filter scenario or complementary coarse-fine filter scenario? For example, should all species and/or ecosystem be weighted the same?
4e) Should we consider planning unit adjacency in finding the optimal solution(s) and, if so, how should we define adjacency? For example, placing high weight on geographic adjacency will lead to a clumped or clustered reserve network.
4f) Should we incorporate a monetary cost of protecting each planning unit and, if so, how should we determine cost?
4g) What should we specify as the criterion for the total area to be protected? For example, should we target 30% of the undeveloped and unprotected lands or something else?
Landscape Design: Land Management
5) For the purpose of prioritizing management on conservation lands (i.e., lands under conservation management) to meet biodiversity conservation goals, one approach is to prioritize species for targeted management based on their current and/or future status within the region or within the specific management area under consideration. How effective or how useful to you would the following approaches be for prioritizing species?
1 - Not effective or useful
5 - Most effective or useful
Use an index of the projected 20- or 70-year change in each species' habitat capability within the sub-region (e.g., state, watershed, ecoregion).
Use an index of the projected 20- or 70-year change in each species' climate suitability within the sub-region.
Use an index of the vulnerability of each species to projected 20- or 70-year changes in habitat and climate within the sub-region.
Use an index of how important your focus area is within the sub-region in maintaining the persistence of each species in light of habitat loss and climate change.
Use an index based on the proportion of each species’ current occupied habitat within the sub-region that your focus area provides.
Use an index based on the proportion of each species’ current habitat within the sub-region that is protected.
Landscape Design: Ecological Restoration
6) For the purpose of prioritizing ecological restoration opportunities to meet biodiversity conservation goals, one approach is to evaluate the change in ecological integrity or species' habitat capability before and after specific restoration actions are taken and prioritize those actions in those places that result in the greatest ecological improvement. How useful to you would the following classes of restoration opportunities be for prioritizing restoration actions?
1 - Not effective or useful
5 - Most effective or useful
Prioritizing culverts and dams to improve aquatic connectivity.
Identifying placement of road passage structures to improve terrestrial connectivity.
Prioritizing tidal restrictions to improve intertidal ecosystem integrity.
Evaluating conversion of developed land
Other types of restorations?
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