Socio-Ecological Conservation Targets for the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Science Center Objects

Peninsular Florida has a high density of species and ecosystems of conservation concern, as well as many threats to the persistence of native species and their habitats. USGS worked closely with the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative to define conservation targets to help meet conservation goals. 

Socio-Ecological Conservation Targets for the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Peninsular Florida has a high density of species and ecosystems of conservation concern. 

PROJECT COMPLETED

The Science Issue and Relevance: Peninsular Florida has a high density of species and ecosystems of conservation concern, as well as many threats to the persistence of native species and their habitats, including high population growth and increasing urbanization threats from climate change and sea level rise, decreasing connectivity of natural habitats and increasing spread of invasive species. Mitigating these threats to ensure persistence of intact ecological systems in the twenty-first century will require substantial effort, and the identification of clear and attainable conservation targets on a landscape scale. Here we define conservation targets as desired outcomes for attributes or values of a landscape that are the focus of conservation actions, and whose definition will help the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) to meet conservation goals. Conservation targets may include species, biological communities, ecological processes, socio-economic values, and ecosystem services. 

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: We are working closely with the PFLCC Coordinator and Science Coordinator, and the wider LCC community to collaboratively develop conservation targets for the PFLCC. To identify these conservation targets, we applied a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. As a first step, we conducted a content analysis of existing information on conservation targets. Many organizations (state, federal, and NGO) within the Peninsular Florida geography have potential conservation targets to help them meet their missions and goals.  We synthesized this information to develop a list of potential conservation targets for the PFLCC. We used structured decision making approach along with workshops, meetings, and quantitative surveys with PFLCC members and relevant stakeholders. This approach helped to identify selection criteria for conservation targets and guide a selection process of a set priority social and ecological targets for the PFLCC and related indicators to assess the achievement of targets over time.

Socio-Ecological Conservation Targets for the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Structured decision making coupled with workshops, meetings, and quantitative surveys with PFLCC and stakeholders helped identify conservation targets. 

Future Steps: The outcomes of this project will be a list of quantitative social and ecological priority conservation targets for the Peninsular Florida LCC. In addition, we will document the process for setting those targets and develop a collaborative conservation-planning framework that could be replicated in the future. In addition, the project will foster an engaged dialogue among the PFLCC community and stakeholders about the identity of PFLCC conservation targets and the process to select targets in a collaborative manner.