The Appalachian LCC has worked to define data and conservation science needs, invest in gathering foundational data and priority research, and build a coordinated network for those investments to pay off. Many of our funded research projects are now beginning to deliver important science information and tools to support landscape conservation for the valued natural and cultural resources in the Appalachians. This report highlights the many achievements of our partnership in these areas.
Our Cooperative is striving to build upon the best available science and deliver key tools that will make a difference as they are applied by our partners and collaborators. A few examples of our research investments include:
- Creating models and a web-based mapping tool that assesses the potential future energy development of shale gas, wind, and coal across the region. Research will assist policy makers, land management agencies, and industry in assessing how energy development may overlap with valued biological and ecological resources;
- Developing a riparian restoration decision support tool that allows managers and decision-makers to rapidly identify and prioritize areas for restoration along the banks of rivers, streams, and lakes, making these ecosystems more resilient to disturbance and future changes in climate.
This year the Cooperative also took great strides in laying the foundation for facilitating coordinated conservation planning in the Appalachians. A three-day workshop in September helped the Steering Committee outline a process for articulating the Appalachian LCC’s priority resources – considering both natural and cultural resources. Identifying and agreeing on priority resources is crucial and will focus our time, energy, and resources on setting specific conservation objectives and targets that are possible and measureable. Specific objectives and targets will inform conservation strategies needed to achieve desired outcomes, which when implemented will deliver actions to sustain these priority resources.
These are exciting times for landscape conservation in the Appalachian region. Our progress is a direct result of the invaluable expertise and commitment from our Steering Committee members and partners working together to benefit human communities across the region and the resources they value.