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National Academy of Sciences Releases Review of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) releases its review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which concludes that a landscape approach is needed to meet the nation’s conservation challenges and that the LCCs provide a framework for addressing that need.

The review was conducted at the request of Congress to evaluate the purpose, goals, and scientific merit of the LCC program within the context of other similar programs, and to determine whether there has been measurable improvements in the health of fish, wildlife and their habitats as a result of the program.  

The panel pointed to many early accomplishments of individual LCCs that demonstrate how the program is already helping to improve resource management decisionmaking through research, tools, and coordination. Among the highlights were a handful of North Atlantic LCC-supported efforts, including the synthesis of State Wildlife Action Plans for the 13 Northeast states, the online Conservation Planning Atlas for sharing regional conservation data, and the Connecticut River watershed landscape conservation design project, which identifies priority sites for conservation based on shared goals and the best available science.

The panel recognized LCCs overall for their ability to create opportunities for diverse partners to find common conservation goals and leverage efforts to achieve those goals at a much greater scale than any one entity could do alone. The panel also identified areas for further improvement to enhance coordination with partners around priorities, and to broaden the evaluation framework to better capture partner contributions in order to realize conservation outcomes at individual and network-wide scales.

The Academy’s recommendations provide a valuable resource for each agency and organization engaged with LCCs to use to take stock of progress in order to ensure that the program as a whole is efficiently and effectively addressing landscape- and seascape-scale conservation priorities using the best science available.

The Network extended its gratitude to the NAS panel and staff for their careful review of the LCCs, and to the individuals from the greater conservation community who provided input.

The LCC Network looks forward to conducting a deeper analysis of the Academy’s review to continue to advance the LCCs and LCC Network and demonstrate benefits to stakeholders and the nation. The Network will develop an action plan for addressing the recommendations and will provide a “report card” to document progress over the coming year.

Learn more about the review and download the report here.

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