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The Next Frontier: Projecting the Effectiveness of Broad-scale Forest Conservation Strategies (BOOK CHAPTER)

Silbernagle, Janet; Price, Jessica; Swaty, Randy; Miller, Nick

Publisher's introduction: "Conservation and land management organizations such as The Nature Conservancy are developing conservation strategies to distribute protection efforts over larger areas and a broader range of ownership and management techniques. These ‘distributed conservation strategies,’ such as working forest conservation easements, are based on the premise that blending resource extraction, such  sustainable timber harvest, and conservation should yield greater socio-economic benefits without significantly compromising the conservation of biodiversity or the sustainable provisioning of ecosystem services. However, it is unknown how well these strategies will compare to traditional conservation preserves or if they will be robust to climate change and resource demand over the coming centuries. Due to scarce financial resources and the relative difficulty of negotiating easement acquisitions, it is important for forest conservation and management organizations to know which strategies most effectively meet conservation goals. Meanwhile, the long duration required to evaluate most monitoring questions leads to a lag in knowledge transfer and delayed adaptive management. In this chapter, the authors discuss the challenges and time constraints to measuring conservation effectiveness and illustrate a scenario-building approach that they are applying to understand the conservation effectiveness of working forest conservation strategies in two large conservation acquisitions in the Great Lakes region of the United States. They show how this approach can be used to evaluate potential outcomes for biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services resulting from varying conservation strategies and discuss implications of this approach for the future of forest conservation."