Habitat Protection Planning

PAS Report 470/471

By Christopher Duerksen, Donald Elliott, FAICP, N. Hobbs, Erin Johnson, AICP, James R. Miller

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As people move to urban areas and urban areas expand to accommodate them, it is more important than ever to establish guidelines to protect wildlife. This report argues that development can coexist harmoniously with a healthy environment and diverse habitat if development is planned in concord with the environment rather than ignoring or trying to dominate it.

The report explains why it's crucial to protect habitat and establishes a practical framework for making local habitat protection decisions. It covers various legal issues, links specific problems with appropriate tools, and shows how to implement an effective protection program. It highlights such protection strategies as various forms of land acquisition and overlay zones, buffer zones, and limiting the number of domesticated animals in suburban/semi-wild areas.

Arranged in a logical style, this report is an excellent primer for anyone concerned about how humans impact the natural environment in their quest to be closer to it. Great for both planner and concerned citizen.

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Page Count
Date Published
May 1, 1997
Adobe PDF

Table of Contents

1. The many reasons to protect habitat
Quality of life • Ethical and moral considerations • Recreational • Economic importance/tourism • Avoiding potential federal intrusions • Increased reliance on local initiatives • Purpose/goals of the report

2. A practical framework for making local habitat protection decisions
Definitions • Scale, human impacts, and wildlife protection • The rural-urban continuum • Getting the job done • Seven operational principles for habitat protection • Seven biological principles for habitat protection at the landscape scale • Five biological principles for habitat protection at the site scale

3. Linking specific problems with appropriate tools
Distinctions in scale and location • The opportunity/challenge matrix • The scale/tool matrix • Example of protection programs

4. Crafting an effective implementation program
Regulatory approaches • Incentives • Acquisition programs • Development agreements • Control of public investments and projects • Taxing and assessment districts • Private-sector initiatives • Intergovernmental agreements • Education, citizen involvement, and technical assistance • Administrative and management issues

5. Legal issues
Enabling authority • Intent statements • Due process and a rational basis • Avoiding vague review standards • The takings issue and how to avoid it

6. The national role in wildlife habitat protection
The Endangered Species Act • The National Biological Survey/Biologic Division • The National Environmental Policy Act • Section 404 wetlands protection • Federal land preservation incentives • Forest stewardship incentives program • Department of Agriculture environmental-quality incentives • Federal land ownership and management • Other key federal programs and policies

List of references • The southern California natural community conservation planning program: The future of habitat protection?