Landscapes dominated by private ownerships have pressing conservation needs. Stakes are high in many places as conservation options are lost due to land conversion and development. Massachusetts Audubon estimates that the Commonwealth loses as much as 40 acres of open space to development on a daily basis. One strategy is for the state or federal government to buy land in fee, and this has been done successfully, resulting in the creation of the White Mountain National Forest, various wildlife refuges, national seashores, and state and national parks. Alternatively, there are many examples of conservation and land protection in a parcelized or fragmented landscape dominated by private ownership which are not the result of federal or state fee simple acquisition. In many cases, towns, non-governmental organizations, partnerships, and individuals respond to need and act at a smaller spatial and financial scale but with significant conservation results. Indeed, these groups and individuals can often act with greater speed and local credibility than larger public entities.

This course will review real-world actual case studies in conservation, with a focus on locally initiated, small-scale success stories, described by outside speakers. The course is intended for the dual audiences of:

  • Currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate students in natural resource disciplines (e.g., fisheries, wildlife, forestry) and other relevant areas (e.g., resource economics, geosciences, regional planning). These future resource managers and stewards need to have an understanding of tools and tactics that can be applied in different circumstances to conserve land;  and
  • Practicing natural resource managers in private and public sectors, as well as locally-based conservation volunteers who are active in land trusts, Conservation Commissions, and other groups. These people are currently involved at the front lines of conservation, often at the local level, and would benefit from knowing what has been successful in other places.     As part of the class, members of the conservation community from land trusts, agencies, and organizations come in and present real-world cases of conservation each Tuesday afternoon (4:00 – 5:15 pm; see the Schedule). Each Tuesday seminar is free and open to the public. These have been pre-evaluated by the Society of American Foresters for Continuing Forester Education (CFE) credit (1.0, category 1).