Thursday, July 19, 2012

Over the last decade, wildlife corridors have become a cornerstone for promoting species persistence within conservation planning. While corridors have become an increasingly viable conservation strategy, issues still remain in translating modeled corridors beyond plans into implementable designs. Although modeled corridors result in the delineation of boundaries, they lack planning and design guidance for programming the appropriate vegetative types and patterns that may be desirable throughout the corridor. This represents a considerable implementation gap for practitioners interested in employing corridors as part of a conservation or land-use planning strategy.

This University of Arizona team proposes that a modeled corridor by itself is not a design but rather a first step toward design. Design requires attention to site-specific characteristics; functions; and even more qualitative variables, such as aesthetics, as a means of informing the fine-grained decisions necessary for implementation. Further, the team believes that the growing field of geodesign holds promise in moving toward this end, as it strikes the needed balance between developing the analytically based methods required in conservation planning and the graphic and communicative language necessary for design implementation. As a result, this article illustrates and discusses the development of a new tool while showcasing the marriage of geodesign with real-world applications in conservation planning and design.

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