An Evaluation of Conservation and Limited Development Projects as a Conservation Strategy in the United StatesEPA Grant Number: FP916373
Title: An Evaluation of Conservation and Limited Development Projects as a Conservation Strategy in the United States
Investigators: Milder, Jeffrey C.
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $111,344
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Urban Planning , Environmental Justice
Conservation and limited development projects (CLDPs) conducted or facilitated by land trusts use revenue from limited environmentally sensitive land development to help finance land conservation. Among their potential advantages, these projects can increase funding available for conservation, help reconcile land use disputes, and promote more sustainable development patterns. To date, however, there has been little study of CLDPs as a conservation strategy, so the potential to share knowledge and improve the use of this technique remains unfulfilled. To help fill this gap, my research will examine CLDPs from around the United States to assess their effectiveness and limitations in promoting land conservation and sustainable development. The ultimate objective of this work is to develop principles about when CLDPs are likely to be a successful conservation tool, how conservation organizations can use this tool to maximum benefit, and, more generally, when and how development and conservation can be integrated in a way that protects the ecological values of a site.
My research is proceeding in two steps. First, I am creating a database of CLDPs, completed by and with assistance from U.S. conservation organizations, to understand the range of these projects. Based on this initial survey, I will select approximately eight representative projects to study in greater detail. My research will focus on answering four specific questions regarding CLDPs: (1) how well they meet conservation goals; (2) how cost-effective they are relative to more conventional land protection techniques; (3) whether they contribute to locally desirable land use patterns; and (4) in what ways they advance or detract from the long-term conservation success of the sponsoring organization. I will answer these questions using several methods including field-based conservation assessments, financial analysis, and interviews with CLDP proponents and local stakeholders. By evaluating CLDPs in many contexts and across many different geographical and organizational settings, this work will help the conservation community improve the use of this tool.