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Biodiversity Conservation in Local Planning

by TROY BOWMAN, JAN THOMPSON, LAURA FRICKE, GEORGE R. HESS, BRANDON KING, TODDI STEELMAN, RYAN MARQUARDT, JAMES R. MILLER, DAVID L. STOKES, MARTHA GROOM show all authors
Conservation Biology ()
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Abstract

Local land-use policy is increasingly being recognized as fundamental to biodiversity conservation in the United States. Many planners and conservation scientists have called for broader use of planning and regulatory tools to support the conservation of biodiversity at local scales. Yet little is known about the pervasiveness of these practices. We conducted an on-line survey of county, municipal, and tribal planning directors (n =116) in 3 geographic regions of the United States: metropolitan Seattle, Washington; metropolitan Des Moines, Iowa; and the Research Triangle, North Carolina. Our objectives were to gauge the extent to which local planning departments address biodiversity conservation and to identify factors that facilitate or hinder conservation actions in local planning. We found that biodiversity conservation was seldom a major consideration in these departments. Staff time was mainly devoted to development mandates and little time was spent on biodiversity conservation. Regulations requiring conservation actions that might benefit biodiversity were uncommon, with the exception of rules governing water quality in all 3 regions and the protection of threatened and endangered species in the Seattle region. Planning tools that could enhance habitat conservation were used infrequently. Collaboration across jurisdictions was widespread, but rarely focused on conservation. Departments with a conservation specialist on staff tended to be associated with higher levels of conservation actions. Jurisdictions in the Seattle region also reported higher levels of conservation action, largely driven by state and federal mandates. Increased funding was most frequently cited as a factor that would facilitate greater consideration of biodiversity in local planning. There are numerous opportunities for conservation biologists to play a role in improving conservation planning at local scales. Las pol�ticas locales de uso de suelo cada vez m�s son reconocidas como fundamentales para la conservaci�n de la biodiversidad en los Estados Unidos. Muchos planificadores y cient�ficos de la conservaci�n han hecho un llamado para el uso extendido de instrumentos de planificaci�n y regulaci�n para soportar la conservaci�n de la biodiversidad a escalas locales. Pero, se conoce poco sobre la generalidad de estas pr�cticas. Realizamos un muestreo en l�nea de directores de planificaci�n tribales, municipales y de condados (n =116) en 3 regiones geogr�ficas de los Estados Unidos: Seattle, Washington y Des Moines, Iowa; y Research Triangle, Carolina del Norte. Nuestros objetivos fueron estimar la extensi�n a la que los departamentos locales de planificaci�n atienden la conservaci�n de la biodiversidad e identificar factores que facilitan o limitan las acciones de conservaci�n en la planificaci�n local. Encontramos que la conservaci�n de la biodiversidad raramente fue una consideraci�n importante en estos departamentos. El tiempo del personal se dedic� principalmente a mandatos de desarrollo y se invirti� poco tiempo en la conservaci�n de la biodiversidad. Las reglamentaciones que requer�an acciones de conservaci�n que pudieran beneficiar a la biodiversidad fueron poco comunes, excepto reglas referentes a la calidad del agua en las 3 regiones y la protecci�n de especies amenazadas y en peligro en la regi�n de Seattle. Los instrumentos de planificaci�n que podr�an incrementar la conservaci�n de h�bitat no fueron usados frecuentemente. La colaboraci�n entre jurisdicciones fue extensa, pero raramente enfocada a la conservaci�n. Los departamentos con un especialista en conservaci�n tend�an a estar asociados con mayores niveles de acciones de conservaci�n. Las jurisdicciones en la regi�n de Seattle tambi�n reportaron mayores niveles de acciones de conservaci�n, conducidas principalmente por mandatos estatales y federales. El incremento del financiamiento fue citado con m�s frecuencia como un factor que podr�a facilitar mayor consideraci�n de la biodiversidad en la planificaci�n local. Hay numerosas oportunidades para que los bi�logos de la conservaci�n jueguen un papel en la mejor�a de la planificaci�n a escalas locales.

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