07 October 2009

LiveBlog: Ellen Creveling of TNC

Ellen Creveling, Conservation Science Coordinator
The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Chapter
Conservation Planning at Scale: the Nature Conservancy's statewide approach for New Jersey

Why Plan? It seems obvious but is worth asking. LIimted resources force tagetted efforts and thoughtful strategies.

The primary goal of their ecosystem planning is to ID a system of conservation areas that contain multiple viable examples.

Much of the work is organized by an ecoregional approach
They try to evaluate their targets by by finer and coarse filters
  • what are the large ecological community systems worth saving?
  • what are the key species that get left out?
The target set should be representative and provide redundancy

Target viability means that TNC needs to consider:
  1. size
  2. condition
  3. landscape context
TNC started a statewide look by identifying road-bounded polygons
Matrix and umbrella blocks - 10,000 acres and 75% or more natural - 4250 ac and 75% natural
The went back and looked at polygons of a certain size and asked which had rare or notable species
The looked at high quality watershed lands too

Still, there was a lot of prioritization left to do, but they got the list down to 12 areas around NJ
  • Highest ecological importance - broad systems and specific species
  • Immediate and multiple threats
  • Action could result in success
  • Since that plan was completed, other activities have contributed in other ways
    • Forest assessment
    • Freshwater streams assessment - not all streams are created equal
    Dynamic forces like climate change colmplicate this process quickly too.
    It isn't all preservation. Restoration is in their toolbox, too.


    Hany Hanafy said...

    The Nature Conservancy set a plan and went through "processes" to achieve it. It doesn't seem easy having so many factors to take into consideration when trying to preserve land. Especially with dynamic weather conditions and human growth needs that address development. They started in 2003 and by the time they got done conditions had changed. I do wish she went over some of the actual GIS procedures and methods in a bit more detail.

    jonathan said...

    Today Ellen lectured on the arduous and exaggerated process a preservationist must go through in using GIS to tackle the issue of land use in New Jersey. She spoke in depth about the very beginning of the project and the numerous steps and decisions needed to discover the appropriate areas in New Jersey that were most in need of conservation and/ or remediation. I find daunting to imagine the amount of manpower, coordination, and the overl all the grand scale of such a project to undertake.

    s.somers said...

    I agree with Hany that it would have been nice to have her go through some of the procedural processes of their GIS work. Besides that I found the lecture informative, and interesting specifically taking notice of the Cape May County areas on their maps, especially since we just presented our inventory on the county. It was interesting to see their different mapping styles and I enjoyed how she stressed the importance of the migratory birds. I was a little flustered about the whole "not walking your dog" on the beach thing. I understand why I just think it is a little ridiculous.