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Final Report for Making decisions in complex landscapes: headwater stream management across multiple agencies


Evan Grant

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Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
Amherst, MA


Cooperative landscape conservation approaches can improve outcomes for species, habitats and ecosystems by addressing multiple threats and utilizing diverse sets of actions available to multiple decision-makers at various spatial scales. However, natural resource managers and conservation practitioners face unique and complex challenges that can preclude the creation and implementation of optimal landscape conservation strategies. Based on our collective experience working with diverse natural resource organizations on management problems in headwater stream ecosystems, we describe nine unique challenges facing the development and implementation of landscape collaborative conservation from a decision analytic perspective. Challenges generally occurred within two major phases: 1) identifying and engaging decision-makers, and 2) creating and evaluating outcomes of alternative landscape collaborative conservation strategies. We propose that many impediments can be reduced by challenging perceived constraints, promoting creativity, and recognizing spatial and temporal trade-offs. Utilizing frameworks and tools from decision analytics can help natural resource managers and conservation practitioners more rapidly develop robust and cost-effective and solutions to complex landscape conservation problems.