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Tracking Success in Regional Conservation Partnerships

October 21, 2013
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RCP map

What makes land conservation succeed in New England?

A new study by Harvard Forest collaborators Bill Labich (from Highstead) and Sydne Record, recently published in the Journal of Forestry, evaluates how regional conservation partnerships (RCPs) protect land from development, and points to the critical role the lead partner organization plays in how quickly conservation can occur.

RCPs are informal networks of people representing organizations and agencies who collaborate over time to implement a shared conservation vision across town and sometimes state boundaries. The researchers used interviews, geographic information systems (GIS), and statistical analysis on 20 case studies to document RCP establishment in New England and to analyze which attributes most contributed to their ability to protect land. They found that when the territory of the host partner organization is well matched to the size of the partnership region, the RCP is better able to achieve measurable conservation gains.


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