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Appalachian LCC Conservation Planning and Design EffortThis past year saw the Cooperative take great strides in identifying and prioritizing discrete lands and waters important for sustaining functional ecosystems throughout the Appalachians. Using super-computing technology, researchers at Clemson University identified connected and focal landscapes, critical corridors, and key areas that are likely to contain larger ecological significance than their size would suggest. Combined, these identified lands and waters cover many critical ecological processes and patterns across our geography and provide a conservation planning and design framework. Clemson researchers and LCC staff are now refining the design framework through a series of workshops and consultations with technical experts as well as integrating ecosystem services information. The final design framework will provide public land managers, non-profit organizations, and private landowners the ability to incorporate landscape data into local decisions and conservation actions.
Building on initial results from this conservation planning and design effort, the Cooperative is focusing implementation efforts by targeting two core areas for engagement and collaboration. Across the Tennessee River Basin and in the Western Alleghany forest area and the Susquehanna River watershed, the LCC will engage local partners and highlight opportunities for collaborative conservation actions. These initiatives will identify shared opportunities to work together for greater effectiveness while initiating long-term planning for the protection of some of the most biologically rich areas in the Appalachians. The LCC along with state and federal partners already organized a first-of-its-kind meeting hosted by the Tennessee Valley Authority to celebrate conservation successes in the Tennessee River Basin and to facilitate discussions for greater cooperation and strategic effectiveness. More than 85 stakeholders attended the workshop and committed to further engagement, identifying the LCC as the forum to bring these regional partners together to share data and utilize decision support tools available through the Appalachian LCC Web Portal. Learn more: http://applcc.org/research/interactive-conservation-design