Title

A GIS-Based Assessment to Determine the Extent Conservation Easements Protect Biodiversity along Colorado's Front Range

Date of Award

3-14-2014

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Department

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Advisor

Steven Arnold

Keywords

biodiversity; ecosystem services; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); land conservation; Colorado conservation easement tax credits

Abstract

Biodiversity in the Colorado Front Range is a critical, but often forgotten, component for the sustainable development of the region. Modern land conservation efforts, which are often a result of donated gifts or opportunistic purchases, risk ignoring areas of high biodiversity. This study used GIS-based spatial analysis to determine the extent conservation easements provide buffer zones for potential conservation areas. Results reveal sufficient coverage of buffer zones for two or more potential conservation areas which help form habitat linkages and wildlife corridors. Yet, the majority of conservation easements provide little coverage of the total land available for protection within buffer zones. The underserved areas identified in this study can be used to guide future conservation efforts in the region.

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