Conservation Easements in the Madrean Archipelago: Landscape-Scale Strategy or Random Acts of Conservation?
AuthorRawoot, Damian Nabil
AdvisorMcClaran, Mitchel P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn mixed-jurisdiction landscapes of the Intermountain West, unprotected wildlands in private and State Trust ownership buffer protected areas, support ecosystem and watershed processes, and maintain landscape connectivity, while their subdivision and development, results in losses of habitat and biodiversity, fragmentation, and isolation of neighboring protected areas. In recent decades, conservation easements (CEs) have emerged as the primary tool for protecting private lands, but as private agreements, there is no explicit expectation that land protected provides these conservation values. With this dependence on CEs, identifying their conservation outcomes is critical to understanding their role in landscape-scale conservation efforts. Focusing on the Madrean Archipelago in Arizona and New Mexico, I conducted a mixed methods study assessing the spatial pattern of existing CEs relative to grasslands, riparian areas, and distance from protected areas, and completed stakeholder interviews to identify any process underlying these spatial patterns. Results show that more than 10% of private wildlands in the region are in CEs. They exhibited a strong affinity towards grasslands (almost 20% of private grassland area is in CEs) and protected areas (more than 80% of CEs lie within 1 km of a protected area) but tend to avoid riparian areas. Interviews revealed a moderate level of consistency between the spatial patterns identified and stakeholder objectives. These results suggest that CEs in the Madrean Archipelago do support landscape-scale conservation outcomes, in part because stakeholders engaged in establishing them are prioritizing resources and values with landscape-scale significance. They also affirm the need for more access to spatial data on CEs to better integrate them into regional conservation planning efforts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College