Daylong workshop will take place in Palm Desert on May 20
By on May 14, 2014
The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard was the focus of the first Habitat Conservation Plan created in southern California in 1986.Photo credit: Cameron Barrows, UC Riverside.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Southern California has been the testing ground for a very large experiment in protecting biodiversity known as habitat conservation plans. Perhaps nowhere else in the U.S., and maybe the world, is there a more acute potential conflict between high levels of biodiversity, large numbers of endangered species, and a seemingly unquenchable need for new homes and economic development.
A Habitat Conservation Plan Workshop, set for May 20, will provide a dialogue between conservation practitioners and the scientific community to identify what has worked well and where new ideas are needed to meet on-going conservation challenges.
At the workshop, a number of conservation experts will discuss a variety of topics, including the use of habitat models; how habitat conservation plans changed the patterns of land conservation and development in southern California; how science can be used to detect species trends in response to a changing environment; how ecosystems and global change are monitored, what the future of biodiversity protection looks like; and whether science has a role in the design and land acquisition associated with Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans.
Registration costs $75 and includes continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. (The registration fee is waived for students and for reporters interested in covering all or part of the workshop.)
Habitat Conservation Plans are aimed at ensuring species protection as well as allowing for the continued economic development of some of the most valuable real estate in the country. The challenge has been great, but so are the potential benefits. Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties each have Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans in place, some of which have been in operation for a decade or more.
“Habitat loss is widely considered the greatest threat to biodiversity,” said Edith Allen, a professor of plant ecology in UCR’s Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and one of the organizers of the workshop. “Habitat conservation planning governs the fate of millions of acres of wildlands across the United States. These plans require a complex integration of science, policy and management.”