Land & Biodiversity
ELI's Biodiversity Conservation Program
ELI operates the Biodiversity Conservation Program, an on-going collaborative program devoted to improving biodiversity protection by identifying obstacles to and opportunities for conservation of biological diversity on the state and local levels. We have collaborated with local partners from a range of states to formulate and implement statewide strategies for biodiversity protection and restoration. In addition, we have sought to undertake national-level research that is designed to support state efforts to conserve biodiversity.
Featured Areas of Expertise and Resources:
- Strengthening Biodiversity Management to Adapt to Climate Change: In partnership with experts around the world, ELI is working to strengthen laws governing biodiversity management to adapt to climate change. This project considers how laws can respond to climate-driven changes to species ranges, endangered species relocation, and other issues that intersect with invasive species management.
- Creating Linkages to State Wildlife Action Plans: ELI has undertaken several studies designed to identify opportunities to link State Wildlife Action Plans to existing conservation opportunities. In Time Sensitivity of Priority Habitats, ELI worked with Colorado State University to identify where the pace and extent of urban and exurban development will soon be a significant threat to the key wildlife habitat identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan over five different time horizons in six case study states. ELI and the Environmental Defense Fund assessed the potential for habitat banking to contribute to conservation of the priority wildlife habitat identified in the state wildlife action plans in Design of U.S. Habitat Banking Systems to Support the Conservation of Wildlife Habitat and At-Risk Species (2008). ELI identified opportunities to link utility infrastructure planning and management with conservation of wildlife through use of state wildlife action plans in State Wildlife Action Plans and Utilities: New Conservation Opportunities for America's Wildlife (2007).
- Planning for Biodiversity Conservation: ELI has developed many resources to highlight innovative state biodiversity conservation initiatives, support the use of biodiversity information in decision-making, and encourage state and local governments to take advantage of the conservation opportunities afforded them by state land-use law. In Planning for Biodiversity: Authorities in State Land Use Laws (2003), ELI worked with Defenders of Wildlife to highlight the land-use planning enabling and growth management laws in each of the fifty states. InPlanning with Nature: Biodiversity Information in Action (2003), ELI worked with NatureServe to assess when and where the use of biological information is required or authorized by state or local laws or policies. In Status of the States: Innovative State Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation (2001), ELI summarized the results the first state biodiversity symposium. AndLasting Landscapes: Reflections on the Role of Conservation Science in Land Use Planning(2007) is a set of thought-provoking essays by the leading thinkers in the planning, conservation biology, and conservation policy professions, highlighting their respective professions' role in promoting the use of science-based information in planning.
- The Nature of Open Space: Linking Land Protection and Land Conservation: In 2006-2007 ELI published a report examining 28 major state open-space protection programs and the degree to which they have the legal authority to acquire lands in a biologically meaningful manner. The report also proposes strategies to improve the effectiveness of these programs to support biodiversity conservation.
Featured Areas of State-Level Expertise and Resources:
- In Delaware, ELI has published Protecting Delaware's Natural Heritage: Tools for Biodiversity Conservation (1999), a collaborative project of Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, ELI, and The Nature Conservancy. ELI, in coordination with a high-level group of agency secretaries and non-profit organizations, also helped develop Our Natural Legacy: Delaware's Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, a framework for implementing recommendations from the ELI report.
- In New York, has ELI worked in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, the State Museum, and the Department of Environmental Conservation on the New York State Biodiversity Project. In March 2001, ELI published a study, New York State Biodiversity Project Needs Assessment, that examines the extent and adequacy of biodiversity information currently being generated in New York.
- In Pennsylvania, ELI has assisted the multi-stakeholder Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnershipin a review of the law, policies, and institutions that affect biodiversity in Pennsylvania. This analysis supported the Partnership's development of a comprehensive statewide strategy to sustain and restore the biodiversity of the Commonwealth on public and private lands and waters.
- In Indiana, ELI has published Indiana's Biological Diversity: Strategies and Tools for Conservation (1995), publication of which catalyzed the formation of the Indiana Biodiversity Initiative, a diverse coalition working to develop a statewide strategy for protecting biodiversity.
- In Ohio, ELI published Ohio's Biological Diversity: Strategies and Tools for Conservation(1998), and supported the efforts of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in development of a biodiversity strategy and implementation plan.
- In New Mexico, ELI published New Mexico's Natural Heritage: A Handbook of Law and Policy(1999), in cooperation with the Center for Wildlife Law and Defenders of Wildlife. The report analyzes New Mexico's laws and regulations and their treatment of biodiversity.