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Land Use Planning Topics: Conservation (scholarly references)

Land Use Planning Topics


References that have links are freely available on the internet.

Beier, P., & Brost, B. (2010). Use of land facets to plan for climate change: conserving the arenas, not the actors. Conservation Biology, 24(3), 701-710.

Even under the most optimistic scenarios, during the next century human-caused climate change will threaten many wild populations and species. The most useful conservation response is to enlarge and link protected areas to support range shifts by plants and animals. To prioritize land for reserves and linkages, some scientists attempt to chain together four highly uncertain models (emission scenarios, global air–ocean circulation, regional circulation, and biotic response). This approach has high risk of error propagation and compounding and produces outputs at a coarser scale than conservation decisions. Instead, we advocate identifying land facets—recurring landscape units with uniform topographic and soil attributes—and designing reserves and linkages for diversity and interspersion of these units. This coarse-filter approach would conserve the arenas of biological activity, rather than the temporary occupants of those arenas. Integrative, context-sensitive variables, such as insolation and topographic wetness, are useful for defining land facets. Classification procedures such as k-means or fuzzy clustering are a good way to define land facets because they can analyze millions of pixels and are insensitive to case order. In regions lacking useful soil maps, river systems or riparian plants can indicate important facets. Conservation planners should set higher representation targets for rare and distinctive facets. High interspersion of land facets can promote ecological processes, evolutionary interaction, and range shift. Relevant studies suggest land-facet diversity is a good surrogate for today’s biodiversity, but fails to conserve some species. To minimize such failures, a reserve design based on land facets should complement, rather than replace, other approaches. Designs based on land facets are not biased toward data-rich areas and can be applied where no maps of land cover exist.

Collins, L. M., & Murtha, M. (2010). Indigenous Environmental Rights in Canada: The Right to Conservation Implicit in Treaty and Aboriginal Rights to Hunt, Fish and Trap. Alberta Law Review, 47(4).

This article is an exploration of Aboriginal and treaty rights strategies for protecting indigenous environmental rights in Canada. The authors then argue for the existence of a constitutionalized right to environmental preservation implicit in treaty and Aboriginal rights to hunt, fish, and trap. The article explores the theoretical, historical, and precedential support for this proposition. The central argument is that in securing the right to hunt, fish, and trap Aboriginal peoples were in fact contracting for the continued existence of their traditional subsistence activities. These practices could not survive without the preservation of the ecosystems on which they depend, and the harvesting rights must therefore be seen to encompass a right to such preservation. Examination of the specific histories of treaty-making in Canada reveals that in many if not most cases, both the Crown and the Aboriginal signatories understood this substantive protection to be a part of the treaty guarantees. The authors then present a brief articulation of the corresponding Aboriginal right to conservation.


Curran, M., Maia de Souza, D., Antón, A., Teixeira, R. F., Michelsen, O., Vidal-Legaz, B., ... & Milà i Canals, L. (2016). How Well Does LCA Model Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity? A Comparison with Approaches from Ecology and Conservation. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(6), 2782-2795.

The modeling of land use impacts on biodiversity is considered a priority in life cycle assessment (LCA). Many diverging approaches have been proposed in an expanding literature on the topic. The UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative is engaged in building consensus on a shared modeling framework to highlight best-practice and guide model application by practitioners. In this paper, we evaluated the performance of 31 models from both the LCA and the ecology/conservation literature (20 from LCA, 11 from non-LCA fields) according to a set of criteria reflecting (i) model completeness, (ii) biodiversity representation, (iii) impact pathway coverage, (iv) scientific quality, and (v) stakeholder acceptance. We show that LCA models tend to perform worse than those from ecology and conservation (although not significantly), implying room for improvement. We identify seven best-practice recommendations that can be implemented immediately to improve LCA models based on existing approaches in the literature. We further propose building a "consensus model" through weighted averaging of existing information, to complement future development. While our research focuses on conceptual model design, further quantitative comparison of promising models in shared case studies is an essential prerequisite for future informed model choice.

Polasky, S., Nelson, E., Pennington, D., & Johnson, K. A. (2011). The impact of land-use change on ecosystem services, biodiversity and returns to landowners: A case study in the State of Minnesota. Environmental and Resource Economics, 48(2), 219-242.

Effective planning and management is of great significance for sustainable land use. This book brings forth a compilation of the opinions and ideas of renowned experts in the sphere of environmental problems and how it affects land use. Various aspects like the function of governments, community grants, environmental planning and other tools used in the work have been extensively discussed. Various well researched topics from around the world have been included with contributions by experts from countries like the US, Brazil, Serbia, Germany, China and Venezuela. This text presents an in-depth analysis of issues like latest developments in land use patterns, eco-footprint analysis, behavioral modelling and flood control methods. The insights shared in this book will prove handy for research and reference on environment management.

Ruan, X., Qiu, F., & Dyck, M. (2016). The effects of environmental and socioeconomic factors on land-use changes: a study of Alberta, Canada. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 188(8), 1-31.

This guide outlines a land-use planning process that can be modified and tailored to meet the unique planning needs of your community. It also highlights effective practices that have lead First Nations in BC to successful land use planning in their communities.

Schmidt, J. H., Weidema, B. P., & Brandão, M. (2015). A framework for modelling indirect land use changes in life cycle assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, 99, 230-238.

Around 9% of global CO2 emissions originate from land use changes. Often, these emissions are not appropriately addressed in Life Cycle Assessment. The link between demand for crops in one region and impacts in other regions is referred to here as indirect land use change (iLUC) and includes deforestation, intensification and reduced consumption. Existing models for iLUC tend to ignore intensification and reduced consumption, they most often operate with arbitrary amortisation periods to allocate deforestation emissions over time, and the causal link between land occupation and deforestation is generally weakly established. This paper presents the conceptual framework required for a consistent modelling of iLUC in Life Cycle Assessment. It reports on a novel and biophysical iLUC model, in which amortisation is avoided by using discounted Global Warming Potentials (GWPs). The causal link between demand for land and land use changes is established through markets for land's production capacity. The iLUC model presented is generally applicable to all land use types, crops and regions of the world in typical LCA decision-making contexts focusing on the long-term effects of small-scale changes. The model's strengths and weaknesses are discussed.

Short, M., Baker, M., Carter, J., Jones, C., & Jay, S. (2013). Strategic environmental assessment and land use planning: an international evaluation. Routledge.

The primary job responsibility shared by planning commissions across the nation involves the design and development of a comprehensive plan. Whether the plan is labeled comprehensive, master, or general, we are, in most instances, describing the same thing: putting down on paper the hopes, dreams, and aspirations a community holds for itself.

Tong, S. T., & Chen, W. (2002). Modeling the relationship between land use and surface water quality. Journal of Environmental Management, 66(4), 377-393.

EPA's Municipal Handbook provides local governments with a step-by-step guide to growing green infrastructure in their communities. The handbook’s five editions discuss funding options, retrofit policies, green streets, rainwater harvesting policies, and incentive mechanisms. Each chapter provides a discussion of available programs and policies and several case studies.

Wijesekara, G. N., Gupta, A., Valeo, C., Hasbani, J. G., Qiao, Y., Delaney, P., & Marceau, D. J. (2012). Assessing the impact of future land-use changes on hydrological processes in the Elbow River watershed in southern Alberta, Canada. Journal of Hydrology, 412, 220-232.

Efforts at mitigating global biodiversity loss have often focused on preserving large, intact natural habitats. However, preserving biodiversity should also be an important goal in the urban environment, especially in highly urbanized areas where little natural habitat remains. Increasingly, research at the city/county scale as well as at the landscape scale reveals that urban areas can contain relatively high levels of biodiversity. Important percentages of species found in the surrounding natural habitat, including endangered species, have been found in the urban forest.