BOOK EXCERPT: This book is a cornucopia of technical information and guidance on how to produce a biodiversity conservation plan. The editors and authors expertly summarize and illustrate the growing sophistication, intellectual breadth and technological capacity of the field of conservation planning. Rather than trying to summarize the book’s large and dense content, I will briefly highlight three recurrent themes that caught my attention: thinking like an ecologist; the plan vs. the planning process; and the new era of data-intensive networked conservation science. I will conclude by contrasting conservation planning to traditional environmental planning, and suggest that conservation planners now have an unprecedented opportunity to build a broader base for conservation planning by bringing their science, methods and tools into the everyday arena of urban, landscape and regional planning.
- Theme 1: To be an effective conservation planner you have to think like an ecologist (or at least collaborate closely with one).
- Theme 2: The conservation planning process is ultimately more important than the conservation plan (or is it?).
- Theme 3: Open, data driven conservation planning is feasible and desirable almost everywhere.
Strong forces are now bringing the approaches presented in this book into established urban and regional planning processes. Planning for ecosystem services (chapter 2) integrates naturally with traditional local planning activities concerned with flood control, water supply, coastal protection, green infrastructure planning and sustainable landscape planning. Climate change adaptation presents another important nexus between traditional planning and modern conservation planning. As Dominique Bachelet describes in chapter 13, climate change adaptation is a major concern for local planning departments looking for cost-effective strategies to cope with changing climate and weather patterns, sea level rise, higher frequency of extreme events, vulnerable water supplies, changing fire regimes and new biotic assemblages...Clearly, conservation planners can and must play an expanded role in addressing pressing societal problems related to environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, declining ecosystem services, and risks to society due to rapid climate change. We offer understanding of spatial ecological processes and spatial analytical planning methods that are currently lacking in local and regional planning departments. And the opportunities for integrating conservation planning into mainstream planning processes are expanding rapidly.