Optimal conservation strategies for dynamic landscapes James B. Grand, USGS Max Post van der Burg, Auburn UniversityAlabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
A short history … LMV JV - Bottomland hardwood restoration Objective: birds, single habitat, simple landscape EGCP JV - Longleaf Pine Restoration Objective: birds, single habitat, complex landscape AC JV - Designing Sustainable Landscapes Objective: birds, Multiple habitats, dynamic landscape Landscape stressors – climate change, urbanization Optimal Conservation Strategies Multiple objectives Multiple resources Dynamic landscapes
Southeast Regional Assessment Project(SERAP)1. Regionally downscaled probabilistic climate change projections2. Regional coastal sea level rise on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts3. Climate change and its impacts on bird habitats4. Designing sustainable landscapes: climate and land use change projected impacts on priorities species habitats5. Patch and range dynamics of North American avian species in response to land use patterns and climatic change6. Multi-resolution assessment of potential climate change effects on biological resources: Aquatic and hydrologic dynamics7. Optimal conservation strategies to cope with climate change
Relationship to SA LCC The purpose of this project is to develop a framework to help guide strategic decisions for conservation delivery across the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SA LCC). Strategic decisions as those that maximize the LCC partners’ ability to meet large-scale objectives for complex systems. Strategies are collections (portfolios) of decisions by SA LCC partners to implement conservation actions.
Objectives Based on input from SA LCC:1. Identify focal species2. Assess the state of focal species3. Determine population and habitat objectives4. Develop habitat relationship models5. Predict the effects of management on focal species
Objectives6. Determine optimal conservation strategies Where conservation is needed What actions should work best When action should be taken7. Identify key elements for monitoring Learn more about direction and effects of climate Measure progress towards objectives
Our conceptual model Conservation Objectives Aquatic Avian Species Species Response Response …is this really the problem? Freshwater Terrestrial Coastal Habitats Habitats Habitats Phenology Hydrology Land Cover Sea Level Rise Private Lands Climate Change Urban Growth Public Lands Habitat Conservation Strategies Enlarge Existing Span Gradients Facilitate Movements Connect Existing Do Nothing
Stakeholder involvement National Park Service U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Defense Fund U.S. Forest Service Georgia Department of Natural Resources The Nature Conservancy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Eliciting concerns Whats important Parking Lot Synergistic Impacts Maintain all Wildlife Unknown-unknowns Conserve cultural Socioeconomics Natural Areas resources Human health Maint. Aquatic spp. Maint. Terr. spp. Protect Protect Archeological Maint. & Cons. Historic Sites Sites Productive Habitat Water Quality Water Quantity Beach Erosion Air Quality Scale Soil Erosion Fire Prevention Runoff Education Communication Tools Monitoring Maps of priority areas How we get there. Website TACCIMO *** This is the beginning of structuring objectives based on one webinar. This is simply an example of the first step in defining objectives.
Stakeholder involvementWhat’s ImportantHow we get there
Stakeholder involvement Maintain Wildlife Populations Socioeconomics Conserve cultural resources Natural Areas Maintain Terrestrial Spp. Protect Archaeological Sites Maintain Aquatic Spp. Air Quality Protect Historical Sites Water Quantity Soil erosion Beach Erosion Habitat Runoff Water Quality Fire Tools Maps of priority areas Monitoring Education *** This is the beginning of structuring objectives based on one webinar. This is simply an example of the first step in defining objectives.
Why should we do this? Complicated problems… Ends and means can become confused Ends determine how we measure success Think about conserving habitat… Do we measure success in terms of acres or populations? Means set the stage for strategies Which strategies should we choose to meet our ends Requires predictions of consequences
Optimal strategies Define the conservation objectives Identify and model the strategies Collections of actions & policies Predict and compare the consequences of each strategy Incorporating – climate change, urbanization Determine optimal strategies Greatest likelihood of meeting all objectives Value of strategy ~ rewards * uncertainty * risk cost Incorporate tradeoffs
How do we predict consequences? Southeast Resource Assessment Project Downscaled climate projections Sea level rise Assessment of terrestrial & aquatic habitats & affects on priority species But for other objectives… Expert opinion Applied research Surrogates
Adaptation working groups LCC Leadership identifies membership Decision makers Land managers Taxa experts SERAP PIs Working groups Prototype decision (prioritization) models Assist with data development Iteratively review and refine tools Reports recommendations to LCC technical committees & leadership
What do we need? Working group Refine objectives Structure decision (prioritization) models Identify data needs & priorities Iteratively review and refine tools Establish tradeoffs LCC Leadership identifies membership Decision makers Land managers Resource experts SERAP PIs
How do we do this? Multi-day meetings & workshops 2-4 in April - June 2011 Report of workshops in September 2011 Prototype model January 2012
What are the products? Comparison of strategies Ordered list of places, actions, and times for actions GIS depictions of same Mechanism for adapting to change