Landscape Conservation Planning: Making Conservation Real for People – Planning Is Easy, People Are Hard – Building Effective Landscape-Scale Conservation Efforts That Endures on the Landscape

Symposium
ROOM: Room 110 – Galisteo
SESSION NUMBER: 46
 
This session is about making Human Dimensions science tangible and relevant to conservation work through the use of case studies and applied research. This session will appeal to those interested in defining, demonstrating, and discussing the application of the social sciences and the strategic identification and meaningful engagement of people in the development of our future conservation landscape. Learn from social scientists about how they have been involved in conservation efforts at scales as small as your backyard to as large as a migratory pathway for birds and end the day talking to landowners about their experiences in on the ground conservation efforts. Join us to learn about human dimensions from theory to practice; utilizing social science and the engagement of people through processes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation efforts.

1:10PM The Human Aspects of Large-Scale Conservation in the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
  Cynthia K. Edwards; Bill Uihlein; Wylie Carr
The dramatic changes sweeping the southeast — such as urbanization, competition for water resources, and climate change — pose unprecedented challenges for effective wildlife conservation. These challenges result from decisions we make as a society every day. Efficient and effective conservation now requires understanding both the changes happening at landscape scales and the decisions driving those changes. This talk will explore the relevant social processes at large geographic scales, and use the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) to illustrate how understanding the human aspects of conservation can help define a shared, long-term vision for both future conservation and economic development. The SECAS effort includes the fifteen southeastern states that participate in the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. SECAS was initiated in 2011 by SEAFWA and the federal Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group with support from Southeast and Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the Climate Science Centers, and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. The SECAS partners have developed a ‘conservation blueprint’ for the region and are now exploring the social dimensions of working at a regional scale to translate the blueprint into tangible conservation outcomes. Defining the conservation landscape of the future requires a new model of working together across entities, factions, and political boundaries through a collaborative process. The conservation community recognizes it is not sufficient for fish and wildlife to subsist on what is ‘left over’ after non-conservation land use decisions are made (e.g., infrastructure development), instead we need to define what the future landscape needs to look like to sustain desired levels of fish and wildlife populations. By understanding the human aspects of conservation – benefits, detriments, motivations – the conservation community can broaden its sphere of influence and garner additional support for conservation actions.
1:30PM Engaging Partners Through a Decision Support Framework to Accomplish Landscape Conservation Design in the Ozark Highlands
  Thomas W. Bonnot; Frank R. Thompson; D. Todd Jones-Farrand
Conservation decisions should balance biological, logistical, and social considerations. Planning is hampered by uncertainty in how species will respond to conservation actions amidst impacts from landscape and climate change, especially when those impacts are also uncertain. Tradeoffs arise when species have conflicting responses to each action. Decisions are also complicated by the logistics of the planning decisions as possible conservation scenarios are innumerable but, constrained by various practicalities such as costs and effort. And finally decisions must accommodate the goals and interests of partners and stakeholders, which can vary across landscapes and years. We describe the development of a decision support framework that addresses these aspects in conservation decisions. Our framework integrates climate, landscape, and metapopulation modeling within a structured decision making to provide planners a way to compare the effectiveness of conservation scenarios on multiple species under various climate change possibilities while being confident that important ecological and population processes were captured in each outcome. We piloted the framework for the Ozark Highlands region and are now expanding it to the entire Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC. We coordinated with state and federal planners to determine objectives, design alternative scenarios, and evaluate the consequences of each given concurrent impacts of climate and landscape change. The process was a team effort, driven by partners’ goals and reflective of management realities. Decisions were based on estimates of risk that were pooled across species and threats and combined with expectations of costs and public support to allow objective and defensible decisions.
1:50PM A Recipe for Coastal Resilience: Equal Parts Adaptation Science and Community Engagement
  Megan Cook; Cynthia Kallio Edwards; Jeff Burgett; Amy Holman; Karen Murphy; Kat Powelson; Steve Traxler
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) bring together many partners in pursuit of the vision of landscapes and seascapes capable of sustaining natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. In environments undergoing rapid change, increased resilience is only achieved with strong, ongoing collaboration. I will share four examples of LCCs establishing shared pathways toward more resilient and adaptive coastal communities through direct engagement of the affected communities in Alaska, the Pacific Coast, the Pacific Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico. Community workshops in western Alaska brought together 250+ decision makers from Tribes, local governments, and state and federal agencies to share the state of knowledge on landscape changes and impacts, identify potential response actions, and outline information needed to help communities and managers better respond to climate change. Coastal managers from San Diego, CA, to Puget Sound, WA, have benefited from workshops to identify local science needs, present regional climate data, and encourage trans-disciplinary collaboration – underscoring the value of co-production and integrated management-science partnerships. Pacific Island communities have a history of resilience in the face of immense changes to their social and ecological circumstances since Western colonization. Indigenous cultural values of mutual support and reciprocity with the land and sea underlie current community efforts to manage resources crucial to subsistence and cultural continuity. In the Gulf Coast, LCCs have developed decision support tools to help balance the economic needs of the region such as shipping, fisheries, and tourism, with the needs of land, water, and wildlife. Common themes across the case studies include: (1) planning and adaptation to sea-level rise and coastal erosion and inundation, (2) co-designing a path towards resilient communities and ecosystems by connecting managers and community stakeholders in joint adaptation efforts, and (3) identifying priority science needs and translating science in meaningful ways.
2:10PM Leopold’s Land Ethic and Conservation Perceptions of Illinois Farmers
  Craig A. Miller; Jerry J. Vaske
Farmers’ land use value orientations, land ethic, and perceived responsibilities were examined to determine relationships that may influence implementation of conservation practices on their lands. Through a mail survey administered to 3,000 randomly sampled agriculture producers in Illinois during 2015, the questionnaire investigated management practices, conservation program enrollment, and landscape values. Land value orientations were measured using mutualism and domination as the two basic beliefs. Land ethics was operationalized through a series of five statements derived from Leopold’s The Lands Ethic set to a 7-point scale. Perceived responsibility was measured using four statements examining farmers’ conceptualizations of their practices on local, state, and regional water quality. A partial mediation Structural Equation Model (SEM) indicated that mutualism value orientations positively influenced both land ethic and perceived responsibility. Domination value orientations negatively influenced land ethic and had no significant effect on perceived responsibility. Results suggest the data fit the model; findings support the cognitive hierarchy and hypotheses that there are connections between farmers’ land ethic, value orientations. Understanding farmers’ perceptions of their responsibilities will enhance understanding how these responsibilities translate into conservation behaviors.
2:30PM Conserving the Plains and Prairie Pothole Ecoregion: Use of an Easy Tool to Understand Landowners’ Decisions
  Lily A. Sweikert; Larry Gigliotti
Temperate grasslands of North America are one of the most imperiled ecosystems on the planet. The Plains and Prairie Pothole Ecoregion (PPPE), part of North America’s northern grasslands, is encompassed by the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The PPPE is a grassland and wetland ecosystem that supports a unique, biodiverse assemblage of plants and animals and provides many ecosystem services. Over 70% of the PPPE is used for agriculture production. Recent studies show conversion of remaining grassland to row crops is accelerating and expanding, threatening the ecosystem’s stability. Conservation professionals need to understand the land use decisions of farmers and ranchers in the PPPE to address the growing environmental impact of agriculture. Our objective was to develop, evaluate, and use the Land Use Value scale to improve our understanding of farmers’ and ranchers’ land use decisions in the PPPE. We collaborated with the state wildlife departments of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota to survey landowners about their land use practices, conservation behaviors, environmental values and attitudes, and demography. The Land Use Value scale identified four types of farmers and ranchers and we used analysis of variance and chi-square to understand the attitudes, motivations, and conservation behaviors of each type. We found that producers who held Nature First and Interconnected Land Use Value types were more likely to report environmentally friendly attitudes, motivations, land use reasons, and behaviors than those who held Humans First and Disconnected Land Use Value types. The Land Use Value scale is an easy to use tool to determine conservation land use values of farmers and ranchers. Conservation professionals can use the Land Use Value scale to align conservation policy, programs, and messaging with the land use values of farmers and ranchers, to improve conservation outcomes in the PPPE.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Understanding Iowa Landowners’ Values, Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Wildlife & Wildlife Habitat
  Larry M. Gigliotti; Lily A. Sweikert
The Plains & Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PPP-LCC) identified habitat loss as a key research need in 2012. This grassland-wetland ecosystem provides essential habitat for an array of wildlife, especially waterfowl. Many factors contribute to loss of wildlife habitat, but ultimately it comes down to decisions made by the private landowner. Iowa was part of a five state study (IA, MN, SD, ND & MT) of landowners in the PPP-LCC. Each state wildlife agency developed their questionnaire based on their agency’s needs for information about landowners. Iowa’s specific objectives were to: (a) measure characteristics, attitudes, values and behaviors towards participating in a variety of conservation programs, and (b) identify meaningful segments of Iowa landowners for understanding conservation behaviors. We received 953 completed questionnaires (26% return rate). Landowners were described as farmer (58%), non-operator farmland owner (38%) and neither (4%). Our monarch knowledge scale identified that knowledge was strongly related to attitudes and behaviors towards monarch butterflies and creating/protecting butterfly habitat. Our species protection scale identified four groups: Negative (21%), Low (23%), Medium (36%), and High (20%) based on attitudes and intended behaviors towards endangered species and their management. Our land use relations scales (economics and nature) produced a 2-group segmentation model useful for understanding landowners’ relationship with the land. Landowners’ rating of the importance of 22 considerations and 8 categories of wildlife was used to develop a “wildlife considerations” model with three groups: Low (19%), Medium (43%), and High (38%). The Wildlife Value Orientation scale labeled Iowa landowners as: Utilitarian (57%), Mutualist (11%), Pluralist (13%), and Distanced (19%). For behavior, we measured participation in 15 land use practices. We compared our different segmentation models on predicting attitudes and behaviors: our wildlife considerations model provided the strongest relationships with most variables evaluated.
3:40PM Integrating Human Information Into Conservation Planning and Design: A Tale of Two Joint Venture Human Dimensions Efforts
  Jonathan Hayes
The grasslands and associated wetlands of Bird Conservation Regions 18, 19, 20, and 21 have experienced significant conversion from their natural state over the past century resulting in large scale decline of many of the wildlife populations associated with these habitat types. Given the private ownership of this region, strategies to address these conservation challenges often need to be aimed at influencing human behavior. Therefore the relevant science needed to inform such strategies is often social as opposed to biological. Recognizing this, the Oaks and Prairies and Playa Lakes Joint Ventures have both began incorporating social science into their research efforts in different ways. Examples include the OPJV Human Landscape Assessment which is analyzing large publicly available datasets in an attempt to model the likelihood of landowner participation in conservation programs and the PLJV where focus groups were convened in order to gain insight into how to improve conservation program design and messaging. Comparing these two approaches can provide insight into the various ways social science can guide conservation program design, delivery and messaging.
4:00PM A Monarch’s View of the City: Social Science Applications in an Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation Project
  Alexis Winter
In this presentation, I discuss how social scientific methods have been employed to shed light on the role of cities in the monarch butterfly recovery efforts along the monarch’s migration path in the American Midwest. Researchers from The Field Museum in Chicago and partner cities researchers conducted interviews and surveys in their localities to understand the motivations, challenges, and strategies of those creating monarch habitat. Their findings were then integrated with geospatial and ecological data to create an urban monarch conservation model to help others set priorities and goals for future monarch recovery efforts. This model is shared in an Urban Monarch Conservation Guidebook, published spring 2017. I discuss our results, with a focus on what is particularly “urban” about this conservation project, and how we determined what findings might be widely generalizable. I conclude with a discussion of how our findings might be applied through the use of the Guidebook and in potential future projects in diverse metropolitan areas.
4:20PM Engaging Landowners in Conservation – Case Studies from the Northeast
  Steven G. Fuller; Bridget MacDonald
In the Northeastern U.S., conservation organizations have adopted The Northeast Conservation Framework to guide the collaborative process of strategic habitat conservation.  Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) have emphasized the necessity of landscape conservation designs (LCD) to map conservation solutions for multiple resources in the face of environmental and societal pressures. Because of the complex landscape science used to create them, the communication gap between the creators of LCDs, implementers, and the members of society who live in mapped priority landscapes is vast. To address the gap, the Northeast Framework explicitly includes steps for Science Translation and Adoption, whereby science-based maps are translated into simple, often customized, and easily interpreted media, and used to prioritize geographic locations for efforts to recruit members of society to voluntarily adopt new conservation. Making an analogy to commercial sales, conservation practitioners must recognize that depending on the mapped resources and the interests of local residents, each geographic priority may represent a unique market requiring a unique approach to win support. Therefore, adoption strategies must include efforts to evaluate groups within society and either match resource priorities and conservation practices with compatible groups or refine recruitment approaches based on landowner demographics. In the adoption phase, the human dimensions component is central to the success of implementation. Efforts such as New England Cottontail, American Woodcock, Young Forest, Connect the Connecticut, and Staying Connected Initiatives share high levels of success and a focus on integrating science with tools to address the human dimensions of conservation.
4:40PM Panel Discussion: Landowner Perspectives on Conservation Partnerships to Sustain Working Landscapes for People and Nature
  Steve Jester; Jim Stone; Bill Sproul; Reese Thompson
Landowners choose to engage, or not engage, with public agency-led and nongovernmental organization-led conservation efforts for many reasons that vary both in time and across a landscape. The panel will feature stories from several geographies including western Montana, Kansas Flint Hills and Louisianan highlighting the importance of the human aspects of conservation partnerships such as trust, mutual respect, shared vision and open communication. Discussions will include the stewardship ethic along with economic and societal considerations, such as family and community, as they impact landowners decisions on land use and participation in individual and landscape-level conservation efforts. Opportunities and challenges to the development and sustainability of effective public-private partnerships at the scale of the landscape will also be discussed.

 
Organizers: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Lafayette, LA; Cynthia K. Edwards, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Lafayette, LA
 
Supported by: Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network, Partners for Fish & Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Management Institute

Symposium
Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 25, 2017 Time: 1:10 pm - 5:00 pm