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Conservation Planning

Ecological Statistics

  1. Paul D. Zwick,
  2. Margaret Carr

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vnn148

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Zwick, P. D. and Carr, M. 2013. Conservation Planning. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Conservation planning – a subdiscipline of environmental planning that focuses on the development of plans to address conservation objectives including the protection of biological diversity, environmental processes, and all other ecological services on which human life depends. The plans might include the adoption of some form of public policy, a private set of actions, or the design of some physical feature to achieve a conservation goal.

Conservation implies some moral thought or normative objective as embodied in an ethic or set of ethics. There is no better place to turn to find that moral guidance than the writings of the pioneer conservationist, Aldo Leopold. Leopold discussed conservation in his classic book A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, stating “that conservation is getting nowhere because of its incompatibility with our Abrahamic concept of land”. He described the drive to support conservation as evolving from two concepts (i) a conservation esthetic and (ii) a land ethic. He argued that the essence of conservation revolves around a conservation esthetic which he declared to be “the common consent that it is good for people to get back to nature”. Second, he argued that conservation is not adequately valued monetarily, that most conservation value is derived from an esthetic quality of the land and by a land owners understanding that the land is important for natural processes. To describe the natural system web of interlinking components and processes, he presented one of the first descriptions of ecosystem energy flows by defining a “land pyramid.” His land pyramid starts with the soil layer that supports the plant layer that in turn supports the insect layer. Next, the insect layer supports the birds and small animals, channeling energy to predators, which ultimately support the top carnivore layer. Today, his land pyramid is still valid and eloquently describes the flow of energy from the sun through plants to the rest of the ecosystem. Subsequent leaders in the evolution of conservation thinking like Archie Carr, David Ehrenfeld, and Holmes Rolston have expanded on the guidance provided by Leopold, articulating each in their own way, why it is important to engage in conservation planning.


  • conservation;
  • planning;
  • ecology;
  • green infrastructure;
  • landscape connectivity;
  • environmental planning;
  • conservation biology;
  • geographic information systems;
  • Endangered Species Act;
  • reserve design