An Urban Conservation Strategy to Preserve Cuyahoga County’s Eco-Valued Landscapes
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The land conservancy movement in the United States has increased significantly over the past twenty years. The increased number and activity of local land trusts is especially notable. Rural and suburban land has been the most important conservation targets for these groups. However, there is growing interest in the conservation of urban land, and interest in the values and viability of natural areas in urban environments. To assess these values and viability, Cuyahoga County, Ohio is evaluated on its present and future potential for an urban land conservation program. Cuyahoga County’s human population has declined the past ten years but land development continues to increase. Loss of valuable ecological areas including riparian lands, wetlands and diverse plant communities continues at an alarming pace. An urban land conservation strategy that targets small parcels (<10 acre) is needed to combat the loss of the ecological resources and to provide natural areas to an urbanizing county as a social and economic benefit. To determine the viability of an urban land conservation effort in Cuyahoga County, the following activities were evaluated. 1. The success and challenges of current urban land conservation efforts throughout the country and within Cuyahoga County; 2. The similarities and differences of approaches to rural land conservation and urban land conservation; 3. Defining eco-valued landscapes and their presence for conservation opportunities in Cuyahoga County; and 4. Organizational structures in Cuyahoga County that could institute an urban land conservation program. As our human population continues to move into and transform metropolitan areas, an urban land conservation strategy will provide an opportunity to establish natural areas where it is most needed and to lessen the pressure of the unwavering desire to live outside of the City.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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