• Open Access

A theoretical approach to using human footprint data to assess landscape level conservation efforts


Aaron M. Haines, Upper Iowa University, Division of Science and Mathematics, P.O. Box 1857, 605 Washington St., Fayette, Iowa 52142. Tel: 563-425-5222; fax: 563-425-5287. E-mail: hainesa@uiu.edu


Conservation organizations are increasingly being held accountable for identifying and documenting measures of conservation success. We propose the use of human land-use spatial data to aid in the assessment of conservation efforts by monitoring qualitative change in the human footprint (i.e., spatial land-use measures of negative anthropogenic activity) within a hypothesis-driven framework to assess the effects of conservation efforts (i.e., positive anthropogenic activity). If human footprint data show that implemented conservation strategies mitigated or reduced negative anthropogenic influences, then a potential conservation approach is working. In contrast, if the implementation of conservation strategies did not mitigate or reduce the human footprint, then new conservation approaches may need to be developed or old ones refined. Human footprint data may offer great potential for assessing conservation efforts when used as part of a larger conservation monitoring strategy.