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The Nature of Open Space: Linking Land Protection and Biodiversity Conservation

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ELI has identified 28 substantial, multi-objective open space programs, in 21 states, that include some focus, either direct or indirect, on biodiversity. These 28 programs expend an annual average of more than $700 million for land acquisition that contributes to the protection of biodiversity, unique ecological areas, wildlife, and habitat.

Although purchasing land is of vital importance for biodiversity conservation, which lands are protected is of critical significance. Protecting small patches of land that are separated by large distances from other fragmented patches may do little to protect biodiversity. Protecting lands adjacent or connected to larger protected areas or purchasing lands expressly to link existing preserves and parks can better piece together the biological fabric of the landscape.

In a report that examines the extent to which these programs have authority to prioritize land protection for biodiversity, ELI concludes that there are significant opportunities for state open space programs to more effectively target their funding to support biodiversity conservation. Click here to download the final report and recommendations for state open space programs.

Our recommendations promote increased efficiency and effectiveness of biodiversity conservation among multi-objective open space programs that focus, either directly or indirectly, on biodiversity. However, our messages truly apply to land conservation programs of any type that may be seeking to enhance their focus on biodiversity preservation.

Open Space Programs By State

Click on the state to read more about its biodiversity-focused open space programs.

Arizona Illinois New York
California Maryland North Carolina
Colorado Massachusetts Ohio
Connecticut Michigan Pennsylvania
Delaware Minnesota Vermont
Florida New Hampshire Washington
Georgia New Jersey Wisconsin

** ELI’s research on open space for biodiversity is generously supported **
** by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. **