The PFLCC has recently completed a set of comprehensive conservation planning scenarios for the state of Florida. This represents the first statewide effort to assess likely alternative futures for conservation considering an array of financial, biological, climatological and urbanistic conditions. These spatially explicit and temporal scenarios simulate both urban growth and climate change and identify the most suitable areas for conservation given the resulting land use pattern. Conservation allocations are based on both fee-title and conservation easements.The conservation priorities and mechanisms expressed in these scenarios are based on a wide set of contributing factors, and simulated conservation is purposefully limited to projected budgets. Therefore, while the scenarios are optimized relative to broad conservation goals, it is not yet known how they perform relative to specific conservation issues of statewide importance. As an important step in the PFLCC’s broader process of developing quantitative priority resource objectives, we propose to characterize species, habitats and strategic habitat conservation areas most at risk in these scenarios.The proposed methodology includes three major steps which have been found to be effective in previous scenario analyses with State LCC partners. The first is expert review and refinement of existing wildlife habitat relationship (WHR) models and associated maps. The second is a spatiotemporal impact assessment based on spatial buffering and overlay of scenario-predicted land use or land cover changes. The third is expert review of current conservation plans for the selected species, and refinement of these relative to expected urbanization and climate change patterns and land tenure.
The scenarios developed for this project reflect urbanization pressures as predicted based up on past urbanization from recent decades, variations on future conservation based on realistic estimates of funding levels, potential conservation areas based on proposed listing, and potential policy changes in types of conservation (fee simple vs. easements), predicted changes in sea level rise based on climate change. Scenarios are designed to span a range of potential futures for Florida based upon combinations of the previously mentioned factors. Scenarios allow the simultaneous consideration of multiple possible futures and the exploration of their consequences. In conjunction with habitat maps for focal species and the Florida land cover data sets, the potential impacts of these drivers can be examined and compared. Three scenarios were developed for this exercise. For more detailed information on the scenarios, and other aspects of this project, see the report “Landscape Conservation and Climate Changes Scenarios for the State of Florida: A Decision Support System for Strategic Conservation (April 2014).
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