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An Assessment of Decision-Making Processes: The Feasibility of Incorporating Climate Change Information into Land Protection Planning

Abstract

Land protection decisions are long-term, hard to reverse, and resource intensive. Therefore these decisions are important to consider in the context of climate change, because climate change may directly affect the services intended for protection and because parcel selection can exacerbate or ameliorate certain impacts. This research examined the decision- making processes of selected programs that protect land to assess the feasibility of incorporating climate-change impacts into the evaluation of land protection programs. The research focused on a sample of the LandVote database, which documents land protection ballot initiatives that sought to protect wildlife and watersheds. Of this sample, the decision-making frameworks of programs were reviewed. Most programs use quantitative evaluation criteria and a bottom-up process for selecting parcels. Almost all programs have one or more advisory committees. The analysis revealed that strategies that might be useful for incorporating climate change into decision making include new decision-support tools for advisory committees, promulgation of different land protection models, and educational outreach for elected officials. As jurisdictions learn more about possible climate change impacts, certain land protection strategies may become more desirable and feasible as part of a portfolio of adaptation strategies that ameliorate impacts on watersheds and wildlife.

This report examines the decision-making processes of selected programs that protect land to assess the feasibility of incorporating climate-change impacts into the evaluation of land protection programs. The assessment focused on a sample programs with goals to protect wildlife and watersheds. Most programs reviewed use quantitative evaluation criteria and a bottom-up process for selecting parcels. Almost all programs have one or more advisory committees. The analysis revealed several strategies that might be useful for incorporating climate change into decision making, including new decision-support tools for advisory committees, promulgation of different land protection models (e.g., purchase as opposed to transfer of development rights), and educational outreach on the potential use of land protection within a portfolio of adaptation and mitigation strategies. As jurisdictions learn more about possible climate change impacts, certain land protection strategies may become more desirable and feasible as part of a portfolio of adaptation strategies that ameliorate impacts on watersheds and wildlife

Published On

Monday, November 30, 2009

Keywords

Region: 
Scale: 
National / Federal
Sector Addressed: 
Land Use Planning
Tourism / Recreation
Wildlife
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Biodiversity
Habitat extent
Range shifts
Species of concern
Tourism
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Governance and Policy
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Rural
Suburban
Industrial