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About the Greater Appalachian Conservation Partnership

A Landscape-scale Conservation Approach

Many of the environmental issues of today transcend state lines and organizational areas of responsibility. The scale of the changes requires conservation and natural resource managers and land stewards to rethink conservation planning and delivery.

This is especially true in the Greater Appalachian region, which is entering an era of monumental conservation challenges. The Appalachian Mountain, ridge-and-valleys to the East, and the Tennessee and Mobile River Basins to the South and West, experience environmental impacts associated with energy development, urban expansion, and transformation of agricultural lands. This has resulted in the fragmentation of habitats, genetic isolation of species, dramatic changes in the water cycle with a resulting increase in conflict to access to water, and the resulting ecological-release and expansion of harmful invasive species. The effects of these threats will be exacerbated by emerging land-use changes as well as a changing climate.

Conservation planning needs a shift from the traditional localized and single‑species approaches towards a broader, more comprehensive scale to protect species, habitats, and ecosystems in large, interconnected areas of conserved lands. Enhanced conservation delivery can be achieved through greater coordination and more strategic investment of scarce resources, as well as the development and application of scientific information and decision-support tools. Given observed and projected impacts of land transformation, expanding energy development, and changing climatic conditions, it is clear this approach can support current populations, provide for ongoing evolutionary processes, and respond to environmental changes.

The formation of the Partnership serves as a forum to bring fish and wildlife management agencies and conservation scientists from various organizations and institutions together, to identify shared areas of interest, develop the tools and products necessary for action, and help coordinate conservation delivery. The Members are organizational representatives of applied science and management. Many of the Members served as part of a national effort initiated in 2009 by the Interior Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Vision

The Greater Appalachian Conservation Partnership was launched in December of 2017, as State-led initiative of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and their conservation colleagues committed to protecting managed resources, biological diversity, and the matrix of managed lands that can contribute to delivering the natural and cultural benefits of healthy and resilient ecosystems to human communities, and to help natural systems adapt to large landscape-level stressors and those stressors that may be magnified by the changing climate.

  • Sustain Ecological Integrity,
  • Safeguard Social- and Cultural-Environmental Benefits, and
  • Conserve Wildlife Populations and Biological Diversity.
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