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The first phase of the Interactive Conservation Planning and Design study identified five highly essential conservation design elements; regional cores, local cores, regional linkages, east-west linkages, and local build outs.

Regionally connected cores are the largest of the design elements. They are broad areas of regional significance that have high internal landscape connectivity. There were 5 regional cores that were identified. In addition to regional cores, there were eight locally connected cores. These areas are locally significant (irreplaceable) and also have high internal local connectivity.

There were two major types of linkages identified that are likely providing additional connectivity between regionally connected cores and within locally connected cores. Regional linkages are region-scale corridors that connect large cores. Three of these areas were identified. The second type of major linkage, east-west linkages, were found bridging Valley and Ridge topography and connecting mountainous regions with the low plateaus in an east – west orientation. Four such linkages were identified.

‘Local Build Outs’ are smaller, isolated areas that are locally significant. They were identified in two primary ways: (1) build outs acted as buffers around existing protected areas suggesting that many conservation values around the protected area are not fully protected; and (2) small areas that had unique conservation value regionally but are under no current protection. Thirty-six of these areas were identified.

Data displaying the spatial extent of the conservation design elements from the Interactive Conservation Planning and Design project is available via download as a zip file (http://applcc.s3.amazonaws.com/Clemson_LCD/LCD_Elements.zip). The zip file contains a shapefile for each of the conservation design elements.

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