Identifying Collaborative Opportunities for Environmental Conservation and Historic Preservation
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Efforts to preserve open space in the United States have been conducted by land trusts, government programs, and private landowners. Most land trusts protect specific resources or environmental values, such as wetlands or Civil War battlefields. In a time of economic recession, budget cuts, and reduced funding from grants and private donations, land conservation efforts have waned. Yet, the need for conservation is as pertinent as ever, and the opportunity is ripe given the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War (2011-2015). Collaborative partnerships between land trusts and environmental organizations can lessen these hardships and present mutually beneficial opportunities for conservation. This project presents a strategic GIS approach, the Connecting Future Partners Process (CFPP), which layers “shapefiles” of various environmental values within federally-defined Civil War battlefield boundaries. By utilizing this process, historic land trusts can identify environmental values present on battlefields and establish partnerships with conservation organizations that advocate for those resources. Focusing on sites within Virginia, the results of this analysis show a wide variety of environmental features on battlefield sites, including wetlands, prime soils, waterways, and endangered species habitat, providing multiple opportunities for collaboration. The benefits of working together to protect both environmental and historic features are significant: increased capacity to influence legislators and leverage new resources from donors and grants, stronger public education campaigns, and more effective land management. The application of this strategic approach is not limited to just Civil War battlefields, but can be utilized wherever cultural or historic events have a strong geographic connection to the land.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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