Rangeland Ecology & Management

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Large Landscape Conservation

Collaborating to Find Common Ground

Photo by: Amber Dalke
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    Large landscape conservation and collaborative conservation are closely related. Collaborative conservation is when a community comes together to address a conservation issue that impacts the community as a whole. Participants in collaborative conservation efforts include farmers and ranchers, but also government agency representatives, members of the community that are not agricultural producers, and other interested groups or individuals.

    While collaborative conservation programs do not always involve large landscapes, large landscape conservation programs nearly always use a collaborative approach. That’s because of the very nature of large landscape conservation. Landscapes generally include several different types of land ownership – government owned land, privately owned land, lands set aside for natural resources protection. Along with different landowners come different priorities for conservation of the landscape and different ideas about management. Because large landscape conservation seeks to develop management approaches that deal with the landscape as a whole, rather than its individual parts, it is important to engage all landowners and interests to be successful.

    Examples of landscape scale conservation efforts that require a collaborative approach include use of fire as a management tool and management of habitat for many threatened and endangered species. Prescribed fires are complicated to implement and manage and often include more than one landowner. Several government agencies may be involved in permitting, monitoring, and controlling a prescribed fire. In order to use fire as a management tool, all of these different groups must work together to identify goals, plan, and implement a fire program. Similarly, endangered species may use habitat spread across multiple ownerships. Conservation activities on one property may not be enough to help a species recover. Collaborative approaches are used to find common ground on endangered species management that makes sense for species conservation and limiting economic impact on affected landowners.