Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
December 2020

A Practice-Oriented Approach to Foster Private Landowner Participation in Ecosystem Service Conservation and Restoration at a Landscape Scale

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A Practice-oriented Approach to Foster Private Landowner Participation in Ecosystem Service Conservation and Restoration at a Landscape Scale
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Large landscape conservation planning often requires managers to coordinate with private landowners, especially in regions like the southern and western U.S. where private landownership dominates. It is often difficult to design conservation programs that incorporate varying landowner perceptions, values, and ownership objectives. Simple and transferable methods are needed to inform the design of landscape-scale conservation and restoration programs, and we propose that this can be done by targeting ecosystem services (ES) of interest to private landowners. Targeting multiple ecosystem benefits can identify areas that provide cost-effective conservation investments. The approach described here consists of three complementary steps: mapping potential ES provision, assessing landowner interest in these ES, and determining which institutions are most effective for engaging landowners. We integrate these three streams of information to identify areas where landowner and conservation priorities align with ES benefits, and where interaction with familiar organizations is likely increase landowner engagement in conservation practices. Though we applied the approach to a landscape in the U.S., the methods are designed to be transferable to other regions. Creating transferable and replicable methods can help accelerate deployment by conservation and restoration organizations interested in ES and landowner engagement.