Supporting Conservation as a Land Use

March 12, 2013

Conservation has often been considered a non-use of land, what is left over when other human needs have been accommodated. More recently, the importance of conservation as an intentional land use has been recognized for its role in supporting a variety of human needs: cultural, recreational, and ecosystem services with significant socioeconomic benefits. However, conservation is different because the factors that make an area valuable for conservation are not nearly as flexible and transportable as other land uses that can use a variety of technologies to make sites suitable to accommodate nearly any type of development.

NatureServe, an international conservation nonprofit organization, supports assessment and planning for conservation land use through a variety of products and services. The NatureServe Network of state natural heritage programs collect and provide data on the location of rare and imperiled species and ecosystems as well as expertise in the conservation of biodiversity. NatureServe provides a variety of online tools to view, query, and access information on thousands of species. NatureServe Vista, a free GIS decision support system was designed specifically for land use planners to incorporate information and conservation methods to integrate conservation into land use plans.

The presenter highlighted these data and tools with some examples from around the U.S. to illustrate how they can inform better land use planning.

PowerPoint presentation (ppt)

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)

Leslie Honey

Leslie Honey

Leslie Honey has been an active proponent for the conservation of species and ecosystems for over 20 years up through her current position as vice president of conservation services for NatureServe. She oversees NatureServe's Conservation Services staff with expertise in conservation planning, GIS analysis, spatial methodology, and project management. She oversees the licensing relationships with NatureServe's member programs necessary to generate NatureServe's multi-jurisdictional data, NatureServe's forestry program, NatureServe's key federal client partnerships, the NatureServe Explorer website, and NatureServe's commitment to the currency and quality of aggregated data products. Honey holds dual undergraduate degrees in Biology and Sociology and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.