Potential project partners:
Government agencies, forestry & economic development NGOs, conservation and recreation NGOs
A recent state-wide assessment of conservation lands in Maine highlighted the need for a more strategic, coordinated approach to protection– one that is based on inputs from a range of stakeholders and professionals across various disciplines and interests. Ideally, this type of strategic planning process would use an alternative futures modeling approach to examine how changing land use demands, socio-economic conditions, regulatory climates, policy decisions, and environmental drivers are likely to influence the future distribution and balance of developed and undeveloped land in Maine. In this proposal, the techniques of spatial analysis and alternative futures modeling will be applied to develop a decision-support system for strategic regional land use planning aimed at identifying prime targets for future conservation, human development activities, and working forest and agricultural lands. Our work plan is organized to address the following hypothesis:
A collaborative strategic landscape planning process involving a range of stakeholders, professionals, and conservation experts can serve to: (1) identify and prioritize lands for future conservation; (2) build broader and more effective conservation partnerships; (3) increase the likelihood of protection; and (4) result in a portfolio of protected lands that better meets socially-defined conservation outcomes.
Our investigation focuses on the three objectives:
- Develop a set of stakeholder-derived biophysical and socio-economic metrics in order to identify and map state-wide high-value lands suited for future conservation.
- At the watershed level, identify where high-value conservation lands intersect with productive forest and agricultural lands important in sustaining traditional resource production.
- At the watershed level, identify areas of likely future development in order to anticipate land conversion pressures and better utilize limited conservation resources.