By: Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation and Land Trust Alliance
The Gulf Partnership is committed to Strategic Conservation, the identification of the most important areas in a region for conservation, restoration and long-term management. This approach is in contrast to a scatter-shot approach - what some have called ‘random acts of conservation.’ We want every dollar spent on conservation to be used to create the most benefit. In October, 2014, the Gulf Partnership, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund, released ‘A Land Conservation Vision for the Gulf of Mexico Region’ which is a series of maps that identify high-value geographic areas for land conservation. These maps were created by the partner organizations and include:
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- Focus areas identified by the partners that reflect local community values
- Migratory bird habitat
- Scenic rivers
- Longleaf pine habitat
By: L.W.Burger Jr., and K.O. Evans, Mississippi State University (eds) Read More »
By: L.C. Singleton, K.O. Evans, L.W. Burger Jr., R. Hamrick, and D. Godwin
Mississippi Bird Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Final Report, 2006–2010 Read More »
By: L. W. Burger
Conservation buffers such as filter strips, riparian buffers, grassed waterways, and field borders are especially applicable to southeastern landscapes and have multiple environmental benefits while serving to significantly improve wildlife habitats.
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By: L.W. Burger Jr. S.K. Riffell, K.O. Evans, and M.D. Smith
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- The Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds practice (CP33) is the first Federal conservation practice to target species-specific population recovery goals of a national wildlife conservation initiative (the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative).
- Over 14 states, breeding bobwhite densities were 70 to 75 percent greater around CP33 buffered fields than around unbuffered crop fields.
- Fall bobwhite covey densities were 50 to 110 percent greater around CP33 fields than around unbuffered crop fields, and this positive response to CP33 increased each subsequent year of the study.
- Several upland songbirds (e.g., dickcissel, field sparrow) responded strongly to CP33 in the landscape.
- Area-sensitive grassland birds (e.g.,grasshopper sparrow) exhibited little response to CP33 buffers.
- These findings illustrate the wildlife value of field borders and other buffer practices implemented through EQIP, WHIP, and other conservation programs.
By: M. D. Smith, P. J. Barbour, L. W. Burger, Jr., and S. J. Dinsmore
ABSTRACT.—Grassland bird populations are sharply declining in North America. Changes in agricultural practices during the past 50 years have been suggested as one of the major causes of this decline. Field-border conservation practices encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Conservation Buffer Initiative meet many of the needs of sustainable agriculture and offer excellent opportunities to enhance local grassland bird populations within intensive agricultural production systems. Despite the abundant information on avian use of, and reproductive success in, strip habitats during the breeding season, few studies have examined the potential value of field borders for wintering birds. We planted 89.0 km of field borders (6.1 m wide) along agricultural field edges on one-half of each of three row crop and forage production farms in northeastern Mississippi. We sampled bird communities along these field edges during February–March 2002 and 2003 using line-transect distance sampling and strip transects to estimate density and community structure, respectively. We used Program DISTANCE to estimate densities of Song (Melospiza melodia), Savannah (Passerculus sandwichensis), and other sparrows along bordered and non-bordered transects while controlling for adjacent plant community. Greater densities of several sparrow species were observed along most bordered transects. However, effects of field borders differed by species and adjacent plant community types. Diversity, species richness, and relative conservation value (a weighted index derived by multiplying species-specific abundances by their respective Partners in Flight conservation priority scores) were similar between bordered and non-bordered edges. Field borders are practical conservation tools that can be used to accrue multiple environmental benefits and enhance wintering farmland bird populations. Provision of wintering habitat at southern latitudes may influence population trajectories of short-distance migrants of regional conservation concern.
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By: L. Wes Burger Jr., Don McKenzie, Reggie Thackston, and Stephen J. Demaso
The conservation provisions of the Farm Bill can produce more consistent positive wildlife habitat benefits when policy (program statutes, rules, practices, and practice standards) is developed in the context of explicit goals identified as part of large-scale conservation initiatives.
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By: LMVJV Forest Resource Conservation Working Group, R. Wilson, K. Ribbeck, S. King, and D. Twedt (eds.)
The conservation objective in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley is to provide forested habitat capable of supporting sustainable populations of all forest dependent wildlife species. This report provides recommendations to improve and enhance management activities directed at providing habitat for priority wildlife species.
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By: Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture Management Board
For a landscape supporting healthy native bird populations across the LMVJV Read More »
By: The National Bobwhite Technical Committee. 2011. Palmer, W.E., T.M. Terhune, and D.F. McKenzie (eds)
The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is the unified range-wide strategy of 25 state wildlife agencies, with numerous conservation group and research institution partners, to achieve widespread restoration of native grassland habitats and huntable populations of wild quail. Read More »
By: Craig A. Harper Read More »
By: Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) USDA-NRCS Read More »
By: Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) USDA-NRCS
Fact Sheet. Read More »
By: Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) USDA-NRCS
Report that shows farmers have significantly reduced the loss of sediment and nutrients from farm fields through voluntary conservation work in the lower Mississippi River basin. Read More »
By: Cathy Berg
This Farm and Dairy article explains how conservation is a journey for our country.
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By: Mark W. Brunson and Lynn Huntsinger
Working ranches are often promoted as means of private rangeland conservation because they can safeguard ecosystem services, protect open space, and maintain traditional ranching culture. To understand the potential for generating broad social benefits from what have come to be called "working landscapes", one must consider the synergies of people, environment, and institutions needed to accomplish conservation, as well as complicating factors of scale and uncertainty. Focusing on the problem as it has unfolded in the western United States, we review the state of knowledge about the extent of ranchland conversion; reasons why maintaining working ranches may benefit conservation; and the challenges and opportunities of rancher demographics, attitudes, values, and propensities for innovation. Based on this review, we explore whether the supply of traditional, full-time ranch owners is likely to be sufficient to meet conservation demand, and conclude that although demographic trends seem to suggest that it is not, there exist alternative enterprises and ownership forms that could achieve the goals of ranch conservation. We offer suggestions on how potential shortfalls might be addressed. Read More »
By: Patricia E. Salkin
Private land conservation initiatives are a critical component of any state-level quality of life agenda. Although concerns over sprawl, including the loss of prime agricultural lands and significant green space, continue to be one of the underlying rallying cries in support of state-level smart growth initiatives, the fact remains that with few exceptions, conservation of privately-owned working lands has not received significant attention in smart growth literature or conferences. Yet, land conservation and growth management are inextricably intertwined and policy initiatives must work in concert to be effective. Read More »
This guide offers a path for local landowners to earn additional income while helping diminish adverse effects of global climate change through implementation of carbon sequestration and other stackable incentives. This document is a tool to help landowners make the decision whether or not to enroll their land in carbon sequestration. It discusses background information on carbon sequestration and global climate change; current methods of sequestration, including forestry, conservation planting, methane capture and others; and steps a land owner must take, including contracts, verification, and implementation, once they have made the decision to enroll their lands in a sequestration project.
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By: Rocky Mackintosh
For those of you who don’t know, TDR stands for Transferable Development
Rights. Simply put, these are typically programs that are designed by
local government to allow for the free market transfer of subdivision or
development rights from a rural (agricultural and/or conservation) zone
to a designated development zone within a jurisdiction. These rights
are purchased by a land developer at market value from a landowner in a
rural area where there are often more development rights than are
allowed to be used by zoning in that area. Referred to as a “Sending”
zone, the rights are then legally separated from the farm or rural
property in exchange for a land preservation easement. The rights can
be held for investment or transferred into a “Receiving” zone, which is a
designated growth area for real estate development. In these Receiving
zones additional density is allowed to be added when the rights are
acquired from the rural Sending zones.
Equally as important it can be a very effective tool for preserving farmland, conservation areas and even historic places.
While not for every community, there are many that are ripe for such programs. So, what are the common features and attributes of the most successful programs around the nation? Read More »
By: Gerald R. Barber
The bundle of rights theory maintains that ownership of a parcel of real estate may embrace a great many rights, such as the right to its occupancy and use; the right to sell it in whole or in part; the right to bequeath; the right to transfer by contract for specified periods of time, the benefits to be derived by occupancy and use of the real estate. Read More »
By: Amos Eno
, Laura Mass Dover
, Willard Dyche
“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Quoted from an essay by Thoreau lamenting the way in which modern urban life has made natural resources into commodities and isolated people from the natural processes on which their lives depended. Move forward to 2006, “open space” or “green space” has nearly replaced ‘wilderness’ in our vocabulary with the rise in the development of the rural landscape. The US population is now over 300 million and more and more people are sprawling out from the urban areas into the country. This push outward is having a measurable effect on our open spaces. Farmland near cities has seen its value inflated by demand for conversion to non-farm uses. People are often willing to pay more than agricultural value in order to live in primarily rural areas. For example, in Iowa there are now more non-farmers living in rural areas than there are farmers. Read More »
By: Laurel A. Florio, J.D.
Conservation easements have been utilized as a primary tool for land protection in the United States for approximately thirty years. The movement started in the Northeastern part of the country and has slowly, but steadily, made its way to the Southeast; the Mississippi Alluvial Valley to be specific. In the past 10 years, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. has had the opportunity to protect approximately 130,000 acres of forest, farm and recreational land under its Conservation Easement Program.
Article Published in Tree Talk (Official Publication of the Mississippi Forestry Association, Inc.) Fall 2001 Read More »
By: K Gregg Elliott
for its hunting, Tara Wildlife also offers birding, hiking and a well-equipped conference and recreation facility. Read More »
By: Resources First Foundation - RFF
A landowner recently asked us: "What is the best way to ensure that the land I donate is not sold?" We put the question to the land trust community and it generated quite a bit of activity on the land trust listserv. They provided a spectrum of ideas which range from the pragmatic to the philosophical. We have summarized and compiled their responses here and hope it will provide some good ideas and sound advice for landowners, as well as continuing this conversation among the land trust community.
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By: John R. Weir and Terrence G. Bidwell
A Prescribed Fire Association is a group of landowners and other concerned citizens that form a partnership to conduct prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is the key land management tool used to restore and maintain native plant communities to their former diversity and productivity for livestock production and wildlife habitat. Native prairies, shrublands, and forests supply the majority of livestock forage and much of the wildlife habitat in the U.S. Without fire, many native plant communities become dysfunctional and unproductive. Research has clearly shown that there is no substitute for fire.
Many forest and grassland ecosystems are fire dependent and not burning is poor land management. Why do not more people use prescribed fire to manage their land? First, fire was not part of the European culture that settled in post-Columbian America. Fire exclusion and fire suppression has been engrained in our society for years and popularized by the very successful Smokey the Bear ad campaign. The result has been a rapid decline in the quality of our natural resources, along with costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year to fight wildfires and the many other negative consequences of fuel build up. This article has been adapted from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Association. Read More »
By: Christopher B. Johnson
One tool for estate planners is the conservation easement, by which a landowner voluntarily restricts his or her land from being developed, restricts the amount of development or protects existing features, like a building facade with historic value.
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By: Brenda Lind
For decades, conservation easements have protected open space values such as wildlife habitat, ecological diversity, recreational access and aesthetics. Working forest landscapes present an opportunity to protect not only these open space values, but also the economic and community benefits that arise from a forest’s production of goods and services. Read More »
By: Nadejda Mishkovsky, Matthew Dalbey, Stephanie Bertaina, Anna Read, and Tad McGalliard
Many rural communities are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. This report focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities. These strategies are based around three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave. Read More »
By: Mark Lapping
, Thomas L. Daniels
The preservation of land for working rural landscapes, wildlife habitat, urban parks, recreational trails, and protecting water supplies and floodplains is emerging as an integral component of smart growth programs. Both the general public and non-profit organizations have been willing to spend billions of dollars on land preservation because of a perception that traditional land use planning and regulation are not successfully accommodating growth or protecting valuable natural resources. The literature on smart growth has largely overlooked the potential of land preservation to curb sprawl and to foster livable communities. On the other hand, the literature on land preservation has focused on the mechanics of conservation easements and land purchases rather than on how land preservation can fit in the comprehensive planning process to achieve community smart growth goals. More research needs to be done on the strategic use of land preservation in shaping and directing growth as part of a comprehensive planning effort.
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By: Wade Martin and Sally Ramirez
Clearly, the motivation for a land conservation transaction is often the desire of the landowner to safeguard the property. However, this objective must be balanced with the need to maximize the return to the landowner. The general perception is that the highest return will be realized from a sale to a developer.
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By: T.J. McEvoy
Almost everyone in forestry has heard of land trusts since they have become a common fixture especially in areas that are rapidly urbanizing. But the unfortunate perception of many forest and farm owners is that land trusts are not to be trusted because their real purpose is to steal private property and pull lands out of production. Nothing could be further from the truth, but critics rely on false ‘private property’ threats to turn land owners away from land trusts even before owners understand how they work. A forest owner who knows how land trusts operate is more inclined to protect lands from development than owners who know little about this highly innovated to protect forest lands from development.
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By: Adam Miller
It may come as a shock, but there is a sort of symbiotic relationship at work between property owners with conservation easements and the IRS. Hard to believe, I know. We understand that the IRS gives tax breaks for those who protect their property from certain development and use. In special circumstances, these landowners can find tax breaks that many others will not reach, similar to the nectar only available to the unique and capable hummingbirds.
The Landowner, Conservation Easements & the 2010 Roth Conversion. At the beginning of 2010, the $100,000 MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) limit on Roth IRA conversions was lifted. Individuals that were not able to convert an IRA to a Roth in previous years may now be eligible, and the subject is getting quite a bit of news. Read More »
Land trusts are non-profit organizations directly involved in the permanent protection of land and its resources for the public benefit. A trust may operate on a local, state, regional, or national level. Read More »
By: Erik Hoffner
Land trusts across the country are preserving agricultural lands to support local food systems. Read More »