Heartland 2060 : integrating conservation and development in South Central Florida

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Heartland 2060 : integrating conservation and development in South Central Florida
O'Brien, Michael Glen ( Dissertant )
Carr, Margaret ( Reviewer )
Hoctor, Thomas ( Reviewer )
Zwick, Paul ( Reviewer )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Area development ( jstor )
Biodiversity ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Highlands ( jstor )
Land development ( jstor )
Land use ( jstor )
Landscapes ( jstor )
Population growth ( jstor )
Wildlife conservation ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Landscape architecture
Landscape Architecture, MLA
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States--Florida


Increasingly the fate of biodiversity appears tied to local and regional land-use planning (Groom et al. 2006, Miller et al. 2008). In biologically rich, high-growth regions, development’s patterns and extent will over the next few decades determine the fate of many species (Steinitz 1996, Hoctor 2003). Such is the situation in Florida’s Heartland, a seven-county region located in the south central portion of the state. Conservationists have recently experienced a unique opportunity to influence the course of development in this area through a fifty-year regional planning process called Heartland 2060, which aims, among other things, to protect the area’s diverse biota. As such, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC), which has conducted the Heartland 2060 effort, has sought a range of conservation-related data. The University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center, the state’s Florida Natural Areas Inventory, The Nature Conservancy, and Archbold Biological Station have, along with other stakeholders, recently performed and submitted to CFRPC an ecological inventory of the region. I assisted with the geographic-information-system portion of this inventory and present that effort herein, along with three other important spatial analyses for the Heartland region: a development-suitability analysis, a projection of land-use conflict (i.e., between development and conservation), and an exploration of potential fifty-year development patterns (including a trend pattern and three alternatives). The ecological inventory shows that much (nearly 46%) of the region is a high priority for conservation, though a large portion of this area (nearly 18%) is now in agricultural uses and can remain so without detriment to biodiversity. The ecological inventory also illustrates the region’s status as the primary wildlife-traversable link between the large conservation areas in south Florida and the remainder of the continent. The development suitability analysis makes clear that large portions of the Heartland are well-suited for development, most notably the Lake Wales Ridge, a prominent north-south ridge that is home to several rare and endemic species. The projected land-use-conflict model predicts significant conflict between conservation and development along much of the Ridge’s western slope, especially in Highlands County. It also predicts conflict between conservation and development in northern Hendry and southern Glades Counties and in a few other pockets around the region. The exploration of fifty-year development patterns in the Heartland shows that the trend development pattern will (1.) constrict or bifurcate at least two strategic conservation linkages; (2.) consume the majority of the Lake Wales Ridge; and (3.) impact much aquifer-recharge land. However, the alternative development models prove that growth in the region need not be deleterious to its biotic and other natural resources. By avoiding development on priority conservation lands, by allocating a portion (say 25%) of projected population growth to redevelopment, and by increasing the density of new development, the Heartland can easily accommodate its projected growth to (and beyond) 2060 without further harming its flora, fauna, and hydrologic systems. In addition, it is argued that a conservation-friendly development pattern will save public money, reduce reliance on the automobile, and protect the Heartland’s visual resources and small-town character. Finally, it is hypothesized that these findings are applicable in many high-growth parts of the United States and perhaps also in urbanizing nations such as China and India.
General Note:
Thesis committee: Margaret Carr, Thomas Hoctor, Paul Zwick
Landscape architecture terminal project
Project in lieu of thesis

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Heartland 2060
Integrating Conservation and Development in South Central Florida

A Thesis Project Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Landscape Architecture

Michael O'Brien

Margaret Carr
Thomas Hoctor
Paul Zwick

University of Florida
School of Landscape Architecture and Planning

June 2010

2010 Michael Glen O'Brien

Cover image credits: mole;;
subdivision--Google Maps; scrub

Special Thanks to:
Peggy Carr
Tom Hoctor
Paul Zwick
Jon Oetting
Tricia Martin
Beatriz Pace-Aldana
Hilary Swain
Stanley Latimer
Jim O'Brien
Carol O'Brien
Elizabeth Williams

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction .................................................................................................................. 9
Research Questions and Assumptions ................................................................. ........................ 9
Broader Context ............ .............................................................................. ...................... .. 10
A p p ro a ch e s ........................................ .............................................................. ................. ..... .. 10
U sin g T h is D o cu m e nt .......................................................................................... ............................ 1 1

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues....................................................................................13
Biodiversity Defined ............ ................ .......................................................... ............. ........ 13
Biodiversity's Status ............ ................ .......................................................... ............. ........ 13
B io d ive rsity's S ig n ifica n ce ................................................................................... .................. ......... 15
Re late d Issu e s................... .................................................... .................... .. ............ ............ 17
A Common Denominator .................................................................................... .......................... 18

Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation ............................. 19
Island Biogeography ....................................................... 19
Land scape Eco logy .............. .............. .................................... ................... .............. ........ 20
Desirable Patch Characteristics ................................................................... ........................ 20
Desirable Corridor Characteristics .............................................................. ........................21
In Sum: Indispensible Landscape Components.......................... ..... ......................22
H a b itat Frag m e ntatio n ....................................................................................... ............................. 2 2
Small, Isolated Populations ......................................................................... ........................ 22
Edge Effects and Disrupted Natural Regimes ................................... .............................23
O the r C o sts ................................................................ ........................ ... .............. ........... 24

Chapter 4: Conservation Principles ............................................................................................... 25
Reserve Extent and Context ............................................................................... ............................. 25
C o n n e ctiv ity .......................................................................................... ...................................... 2 6
The Benefits of Connectivity ....................................................................... ........................ 26
Connectivity in the Landscape .................................................................... ........................ 27
C o n se rvatio n N etw o rks........................................................................................................................ 2 9
Desirable Conservation-Network Characteristics......................................................... 29
A Conservation-Network Case Study: The Florida Ecological Network.............................. ..30

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas.......................................................................................33
Traditional Conservation Shortcomings ............................................................. ........................ 33
Multiple Contemporary Approaches.................................................................. ........................ 34
S p e cie s-B ase d ............. ............................................ .................................. ............................ 3 5
C o m m u n ity-Based ............................................................ ............................. .. . ............... 35
Landscape-Based .. .... ......................................................... 36
A Mini-Synthesis of Contemporary Approaches ................................................................36
Conservation Lands as Green Infrastructure...................................................... ............................. 38

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures.................................... 41
LU C IS ......................................................................... .... ....... ............. 4 1
Alternative Futures........................... .... ............................................................................. 43
The Region of Camp Pendleton, California ..........................................................43
The Seven-County Orlando Region ............................................................. ........................ 45
"Concrete Examples" .......................................................................................... ............................. 48


Chapter 7: The Study Region ......................................................................................................... 49
Regional Geography and Geomorphology ........................ ................................ .............................49
H e a rtla n d Flo ra a n d Fa u n a ..................................................................... ......................................... 5 2
T he H ea rtla n d 's H isto ry ...................................................................................... ............................. 5 5
Regional Demographics................................................... 57
T he H ea rtla n d Eco no m y ....................................................................................................................... 60
Existing Regional Land Use and Conservation Areas.......................................................62

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory (HEI) ..................................... ...................................65
HEI Context and Purpose ................................................................................... ............................. 65
HEI Strategy ...... ................................ ................ ........66
Modeling Process ............................................................ ............................................ ........... 67
Re su lts a n d D iscussio n ...................................................................................... ................. ......... 1 17

Chapter 9: Heartland Development Suitability................................................................................. 119
Development Suitability Primer ............................................... 119
M o d e ling Pro cess ............ ................ ........................................ ............... .... ............. ........ 120
Re su lts a n d D iscussio n ...................................................................................... ................. ......... 14 8
Looking Ahead............... .......................................................... .............................................. 150

Chapter 10: Projected Land-Use Conflict in the Heartland............................................................. 151
M o d e ling Pro cess ............ ................ ........................................ ............... .... ............. ........ 15 1
Re su lts a n d D iscu ssio n ...................................................................................... ................. ......... 16 1

Chapter 11: Alternative Futures for the Heartland ........................................................................... 163
M o d e ling Pro cess ............ ................ ........................................ ............... .... ............. ........ 16 3
The Allocation Surface ............................................................................... .......................... 163
T h e M o d e ls ............ ................ .......................................... ............... .... ............. ....... 16 6
Re su lts an d D iscu ssio n ...................................................................................... ................. ......... 16 7

Chapter 12: Conclusions ............................................................................................................. 183
Region-Specific Conclusions and Recommendations........................................... 183
Trend Development's Impacts and Costs............................................................. 183
Growth W ith Reduced Impacts and Costs ............................................................. 185
General Applicability of These Conclusions ............................................................... 186
Process-Related Conclusions........................................................ ................................................. 187
Suggestions for Future Study ............................. ...... ............................................................... 188
Bo tto m Lin e ...................................................................... .................... .. ....... ......... ....... 18 9

Appendix A: Population Estimates and Projections ......................................................................... 191

Appendix B: Supplemental Data: The Heartland Ecological Inventory.................................. .....193

Appendix C: Supplemental Data: Development Suitability Analysis................................................ 201

Appendix D: Supplemental Data: Projected Land-Use Conflict Analysis.......................................... 207

Appendix E: Supplemental Data: Development Models ...............................................................211

W works Cited.............................................................................................................. .... ..................215


Increasingly the fate of biodiversity appears tied to local and regional land-use planning (Groom et al. 2006, Miller et
al. 2008). In biologically rich, high-growth regions, development's patterns and extent will over the next few decades
determine the fate of many species (Steinitz 1996, Hoctor 2003). Such is the situation in Florida's Heartland, a seven-
county region located in the south central portion of the state. Conservationists have recently experienced a unique
opportunity to influence the course of development in this area through a fifty-year regional planning process called
Heartland 2060, which aims, among other things, to protect the area's diverse biota. As such, the Central Florida
Regional Planning Council (CFRPC), which has conducted the Heartland 2060 effort, has sought a range of conservation-
related data. The University of Florida's GeoPlan Center, the state's Florida Natural Areas Inventory, The Nature Conser-
vancy, and Archbold Biological Station have, along with other stakeholders, recently performed and submitted to CFRPC
an ecological inventory of the region.
I assisted with the geographic-information-system portion of this inventory and present that effort herein,
along with three other important spatial analyses for the Heartland region: a development-suitability analysis, a projec-
tion of land-use conflict (i.e., between development and conservation), and an exploration of potential fifty-year devel-
opment patterns (including a trend pattern and three alternatives). The ecological inventory shows that much (nearly
46%) of the region is a high priority for conservation, though a large portion of this area (nearly 18%) is now in agricul-
tural uses and can remain so without detriment to biodiversity. The ecological inventory also illustrates the region's
status as the primary wildlife-traversable link between the large conservation areas in south Florida and the remainder
of the continent.
The development suitability analysis makes clear that large portions of the Heartland are well-suited for devel-
opment, most notably the Lake Wales Ridge, a prominent north-south ridge that is home to several rare and endemic
species. The projected land-use-conflict model predicts significant conflict between conservation and development
along much of the Ridge's western slope, especially in Highlands County. It also predicts conflict between conservation
and development in northern Hendry and southern Glades Counties and in a few other pockets around the region.
The exploration of fifty-year development patterns in the Heartland shows that the trend development pattern
will (1.) constrict or bifurcate at least two strategic conservation linkages; (2.) consume the majority of the Lake Wales
Ridge; and (3.) impact much aquifer-recharge land. However, the alternative development models prove that growth
in the region need not be deleterious to its biotic and other natural resources. By avoiding development on priority
conservation lands, by allocating a portion (say 25%) of projected population growth to redevelopment, and by increas-
ing the density of new development, the Heartland can easily accommodate its projected growth to (and beyond) 2060
without further harming its flora, fauna, and hydrologic systems. In addition, it is argued that a conservation-friendly
development pattern will save public money, reduce reliance on the automobile, and protect the Heartland's visual
resources and small-town character. Finally, it is hypothesized that these findings are applicable in many high-growth
parts of the United States and perhaps also in urbanizing nations such as China and India.


Local land-use policy is increasingly being recognized as fundamental to biodiversity conservation in the
United States.
--MILLER ET AL. (2008), Biodiversity Conservation in Local Planning, page 53

Figure 1.1: Nighttime satellite image of Florida. (

As Figure 1.1 shows, development has spread across
large portions of peninsular Florida. Urban and suburban
land uses stretch almost continuously from Homestead
to Jacksonville on the Atlantic coast, and from Naples to
Clearwater on the Gulf. In addition, an urban/suburban
corridor has arced across the peninsula's interior, fol-
lowing Interstate 4 from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach.
Relatively rural south central Florida now finds itself sur-
rounded by development, which can only be expected to
push inward.
In face of this pressure, seven counties in south
central Florida--often referred to as the state's Heartland-
-are participating in a fifty-year regional-visioning process
known as Heartland 2060. These counties are DeSoto,
Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Okeechobee, and
Polk (Figure 1.2). Conducted by the Central Florida
Regional Planning Council (CFRPC), this public, interdisci-
plinary effort was initiated in 2007 and will conclude later
this year. Essentially, the Heartland 2060 process seeks
to establish a set of land-use priorities that will guide re-
gional growth and development over the next fifty years.
Ideally, this loose Regional blueprint will serve to
protect and enhance conservation areas, natural
resources, recreational areas, and open spaces;
enhance regional education and health care
opportunities; guide transportation and infra-

structure investment and planning future land
use; and build healthy communities through
economic development (CFRPC n.d.).
An effort of this scope has of course required data and
recommendations from a range of sources. As one of
these sources, this study is intended to inform a critical
segment of the Heartland 2060 process: the shaping of a
strategy for resolving (or at least minimizing) the inevi-
table tension between conservation and development in
this changing region.

Research Questions and Assumptions
More specifically, this study is designed to answer two
questions: (1.) Can Florida's Heartland Region accommo-
date substantial population growth without degrading its
biodiversity and other natural resources? (2.) If so, what
might future development patterns in the Region look
As suggested, the Heartland Region faces
substantial growth pressures. Currently estimated at
about 840,000, the Region's population is expected to
exceed one million by 2025 and will approach 1.5 mil-
lion by 2060. Chapter 7 will show that the Heartland is
also a biologically rich area, providing a unique home
for a number of threatened plants, animals, and natural
communities. It also serves as a strategic link between

Chapter 1: Introduction

Figure 1.2: Florida's Heartland. Detailed maps appear in Chapter 7.

the protected areas of southeast Florida (e.g., Everglades
National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve) and
the rest of the state. For these reasons, conservationists
hope to preserve significant portions of the Region.
Through its examination of the above research
questions, this study attempts to spatially reconcile these
two needs--i.e., the need to accommodate population
growth and the need to protect biodiversity and other
natural resources. It acknowledges that the Heartland's
many new residents will require places to live and work,
and that open space will continue to be developed. It
recognizes that hundreds of thousands of natural and
agricultural acres must be protected if the Region's biotic
and other natural systems are to remain functional. And
it assumes that conservation and development will in
many cases compete for the same lands. In brief, this
study assumes that conservation planning and devel-
opment planning should be closely linked. As will be
shown, this integration of the two can not only better
serve nature, it can foster a more efficient, more liveble
environment for people.

Broader Context
The pressures affecting Florida's Heartland are neither
region- nor state-specific. This study is in fact set in the
context of two worldwide trends: (1.) earth's largest
mass extinction in 65 million years and (2.) massive hu-
man population growth. These trends interact to create
the worldwide challenge of accommodating expanding
human populations without further degrading biotic
resources and other natural systems.
The relevance of land-use planning to this es-
sential problem is simply and logically explained: Human
modification of the land is widely considered to be the
principal cause of the current mass extinction and the
degradation of other natural resources (see Chapters 2
and 3). Because of the clear relationship between human
populations and the quantity of land modified, we can
only expect this problem to intensify. Without carefully
planned development and decreased per capital land use,
many parts of the nation and world will lose numerous
native species and will experience increasingly dimin-
ished ecosystem services (e.g., aquifer recharge, climate
regulation, pollination, etc).
Conservationists and others concerned with
the stewardship of natural resources have come to
recognize that regional and local land-use policies and
decisions have the potential to minimize these harmful
consequences. In other words, land-use planning can
cushion the impacts of human population growth on the
natural world. This critical function depends upon land-
use planners (1.) understanding the relationship between
land use and nature, (2.) possessing adequate inventories
of local natural resources, and (3.) having the capacity
to visualize the long-term results of what appear to be
incremental land-use decisions.
With its inventory of the Heartland's ecological
resources, its projections of regional land-use conflict,
and its exploration of regional development patterns, this
document represents a case study in providing the data
and recommendations land-use planners will require
as they formulate priorities and guidelines for local and
regional development. Florida's Heartland is an ideal
setting for this sort of study. As a biologically rich area
expecting to add more than 600,000 residents over the
next fifty years, it serves as a convenient laboratory for
evaluating whether large-scale population growth can oc-
cur without the further degradation of natural resources.
In addition, CFRPC's information-hungry regional vision-
ing process provides an ideal forum for the submission of
land-use-related data and recommendations.

Chapter 1: Introduction

This study approaches the conservation-development dy-
namic from both perspectives. It identifies priority con-
servation lands and locates areas of high development-
suitability. It then compares these results in an effort to
locate lands desirable for both uses. It is in these dually-
suitable areas that the tension between conservation and
development will likely play out, and, from this paper's
admittedly pro-conservation perspective, it is these areas
that must be protected in the near future.
But the overall goal is to integrate the two uses,
not to provide one with a plan for outmaneuvering the
other. For this reason, this study also explores formulae
for allocating regional development in conservation-
friendly ways. It models the trend (default) development
pattern in the Heartland to the year 2060, demonstrates
this pattern's relative incompatibly with conservation,
and then presents three alternative development pat-
terns. It is through this exploration of trend and alterna-
tive development patterns that answers to the research
questions emerge. (As will become evident, the earlier
phases are required for this direct evaluation of the re-
search questions.)
Investigating the feasibility and characteristics
of conservation-compatible development patterns in the
Heartland involves three research phases, two of which
call for several component steps. Briefly, these phases
and steps are:

--Phase I: Background Research (Chapters 2-7)
Step A: An examination of the relationship be-
tween land use and natural systems (particularly
biotic systems).
Step B: A review of the science behind identifying
priority conservation areas.
Step C: A look at strategies for modeling land-use
conflict, trend development, and alternative devel-
opment patterns.
Step D: A physical, biological, and cultural explora-
tion of the study Region.
--Phase II: Investigation (Chapters 8-11)
Step A: An inventory of Heartland natural resourc-
es (with a focus on flora and fauna).
Step B: An analysis of development suitability in
the Region.
Step C: A projection of land-use conflict in the
Step D: A model of trend development in the
Region (to the year 2060).
Step E: Models of three alternative regional devel-
opment patterns (also to 2060).
--Phase III: Conclusions (Chapter 12)

Step A: A summary of Region-specific conclusions.
Step B: An assessment of the general applicability
of these conclusions.
Step C: A summary of process-related conclusions.
Step D: Suggestions for future study.

As would be expected, Phase I is essentially
a literature review that provides a foundation for the
spatial analyses undertaken in Phase II. Like any such
review, Phase I summarizes principles, theories, and case
studies directly relevant to the latter phases. In an effort
to derive maximum practical benefit from this phase,
Chapters 3-5 each culminate in brief summaries of land-
use-related conservation principles. In addition, Phase I
offers an introduction to the Heartland's physical environ-
ment, biota, and people.
Phase II consists of a series of spatial models, all
built with geographic-information-system (GIS) software
(ArcGIS 9.3). These models were produced using raster
operations, which will be introduced in Chapter 8. Phase
II is broken into four chapters, each of which describes
the purpose, context, methodology, and results of one
or more spatial models. Each Phase II chapter also offers
a brief discussion of those results. Phase II is a cumula-
tive process, with the trend and alternative development
models building on Steps A-C.
Phase III offers conclusions based on both the
background research and the investigation. It provides
direct answers to the research questions and evaluates
these conclusions in the context of national and global
land-use trends. It suggests strategies for effecting new,
more adaptive development patterns. It offers process-
related recommendations for those undertaking similar
studies, and, as with any research paper, it points to op-
portunities for related research.

Using This Document
The three phases and their component steps build
towards a direct assessment of the research questions
(which is found in Chapters 11 and 12). However, all
phases and components are intended to provide practical
information for land-use decision makers in the Heart-
land and beyond. Chapter 8, for example, describes a
basic but widely applicable process for identifying priority
conservation lands. That said, few will have time to read
the entire paper. Certain critical sections have therefore
been marked with an asterisk; these are of greatest sig-
nificance, particularly to land-use planners in the Heart-
land. Finally, those without a background or interest in
geographic information systems will likely wish to skip the
Modeling Process sections of Chapters 8-11.


Biodiversity must be conserved as a matter of principle, as a matter of survival, and as a matter of
economic benefit.
--UNEP, IUCN, and WWF (1992), Caring for the Earth

Figure 2.1: Endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). (

Chapter 1 introduced the link between biodiversity and
land use. It proposed that development planning should
be built in part around a careful analysis of local biotic
resources, particularly in fast-growing, biologically rich
regions like Florida's Heartland. This chapter examines
the concept of biodiversity, the hazards it faces, and its
importance to humankind. In an attempt to establish
the win-win nature of biodiversity conservation, it also
outlines other land-use-related issues whose solutions
closely parallel efforts to protect biotic resources.

Biodiversity Defined*
The Keystone Center for Science and Public Policy pro-
vides a commonly cited definition of biodiversity (1991):

Biodiversity is the variety of life and its process-
es. It includes the variety of living organisms,
the genetic differences among them, the com-
munities and ecosystems in which they occur,
and the ecological and evolutionary processes
that keep them functioning, yet ever changing
and adapting.

Biodiversity thus includes all of life itself, its genetic
library, the assemblages into which life organizes itself,

and the naturally occurring conditions and changes with
which life has become intertwined. This four-part defini-
tion implies that conservation efforts must operate at
several levels if the full richness of life is to be preserved:
It is insufficient (and unsustainable over any length of
time) to keep around a few living panthers, grizzly bears,
or desert pupfish if their genetic variety has been lost,
if the ecosystems in which they evolved have vanished,
or if they are removed from the evolutionary path along
which all of life must continue to travel if it is to remain
viable (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). The preservation
of a phenomenon (or set of phenomena) so complex as
biodiversity calls for broad approaches, some of which
will be discussed in this paper.

Biodiversity's Status
Biodiversity is presently threatened at all four levels. The
scope of extant species has been narrowed by the largest
mass extinction-wrought primarily by man-since the
demise of the dinosaurs roughly 65 million years ago
(Groom et al. 2006). The International Union for the Con-
servation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) conser-
vatively lists some 800 modern-day extinctions world-
wide, including 229 in the United States (IUCN 2009).
The IUCN has also evaluated the status of about 45,000

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues

extant species around the world, finding that 38%--more
than one in three--face a "high" or "very high" risk of
extinction in the wild (IUCN 2009) (Figure 2.2). Biologist
E.O. Wilson estimates Earth's current extinction rate at
.1% a year, "a thousand times greater than in pre-human
times, and a thousand times higher than new species are
being born" (2002). Domestically, the U.S. Fish and Wild-
life Service (n.d.) lists nearly 2000 plant and animal spe-
cies as threatened or endangered, and thousands more
are candidates for listing (Randolph 2004). In Florida, 115
plant and animal species are threatened or endangered,
including such diverse fauna as the crested caracara (Ca-
racara cheriway), the sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi), and
the Florida panther, the latter of which likely numbers
less than 100 individuals (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
n.d., Florida Panther Society n.d.).


0% 10 20 30 40 50 60 70%
Figure 2.2: Threatened ("vulnerable, endangered, or critically endan-
gered") species as percentages of major groups of organisms. Data are
for species evaluated by IUCN (#=45,000). (Data:

Aside from the irrevocable genetic loss result-
ing from species extinction-by which entire volumes
are permanently removed from life's DNA library (Wilson
1984)-biodiversity is threatened at its genetic level by
a loss of variability within species. Habitat loss and frag-
mentation (discussed in more detail later) have divided
many species into isolated populations whose limited
numbers offer insufficient genetic diversity for normal
evolution--and in some cases even for short-term survival
(Groom et al. 2006). Genetic drift', inbreeding, reduced
fertility, and other maladies can severely erode the long-
term viability of these isolated populations and that of
the taxa to which they belong (Harris 1984, Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003). The Florida black bear
(Ursus americanus floridanus), for example, though not
listed as threatened or endangered, has become divided
into several isolated populations around the state, some

Whereby genes are randomly lost, limiting a species' or
population's adaptability (Noss and Cooperrider 1994)

County boundaries
M Open water
Florida black bear range
M Core occupied
0 100 200 300 400 500 Kilometers

Figure 2.3: Florida black bear sub-populations. (Hoctor 2003)

of which may not be viable over the long-run without
an influx of genes from other populations (Hoctor 2003)
(Figure 2.3). According to Noss and Cooperrider (1994),
"small populations on habitat islands, if they survive at
all, may lose their evolutionary potential unless enriched
by gene flow from other populations" (61). Alarmingly,
many species and the genetic resources they represent
face this problem (Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
At a larger scale, biodiversity is imperiled by the
degradation of natural communities and ecosystems. Be-
tween one-third and one-half of Earth's terrestrial surface
has been modified to some degree by humans (Vitousek
et al. 1997), and "virtually all of earth's ecosystems have
been significantly transformed through human actions"
(Reid et al. 2005, page 26). Worse yet, some ecosystems
are simply vanishing: Temperate grassland and savanna,
for instance, now cover less than 20% of their original
worldwide extent (Groom et al. 2006). Closer to home,
the United States has lost 58% of its native vegeta-
tion and more than 50% of its wetlands (Groom et al.
2006). Nearly all virgin forests within the coterminous
48 states have been destroyed (Noss and Cooperrider
1994), resulting in a catastrophic disruption of woodland
ecosystems. In the southeast, several ecosystem types
have been reduced to less than 50% of their original
range, and some, such as longleaf pine forest, now cover
less than 5% of their original extent (Carr et al. 2002). As
entire ecosystems like longleaf pine forest are lost, spe-
cies who make their homes in the affected communities,
including the longleaf pine forest's red-cockaded wood-
pecker (Picoides borealis), find themselves vulnerable
(The Nature Conservancy n.d.a.).
It is in part the suppression of an ecological
process-fire-that has diminished the extent of longleaf
pine forests and other pyric, or fire-dependent, ecosys-

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues

teams (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,). Without ecological
processes such as fire, flooding, nutrient cycles, and feed-
back effects (e.g., predation), the many ecosystems that
depend upon these dynamics are negatively impacted
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Peck 1998). Unfortunately,
humans limit the frequency and range of natural fires,
confine rivers and streams, disrupt nutrient cycles, and
tamper with natural feedback systems (e.g., predator
elimination), often impairing ecological processes vital to
biodiversity (Peck 1998).
The above threats to biotic diversity imply strain
on life's ultimate process, evolution. The Keystone Cen-
ter's definition of biodiversity concludes with mention
of "the ecological and evolutionary processes that keep
them [organisms, communities, and ecosystems] func-
tioning, yet ever changing and adapting", suggesting that
continued biotic functioning requires, or at least corre-
lates with, change and adaptation. Evolution has shaped
all of life (Dawkins 2004), and species, genes, communi-
ties, and ecosystems excluded from its scheme will not
persist (Frankel and Soule 1981). As such, evolutionary
processes like migration, dispersal, and genetic inter-
change, all of which have been disrupted to some degree
by human impacts on the land, must be allowed to con-
tinue and/or resume (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor
2003). To take but one example, the Florida panther will
be unable to survive and adapt for long without an influx
of genetic material, which itself will require the migration
and dispersal of the species (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,
Hoctor 2003) (Figure 2.4).
On the whole, then, biodiversity is encroached
upon from several directions. Species, genetic variabil-
ity, ecosystems, and natural processes all face serious
human-induced constraints, and I hope to show in the

r-gure z.4: raniner migraton ana alspersal--ana inus evolunon--Tace
various impediments. (

coming chapters that many of these threats arise from
our land-use decisions. We should recognize the urgency
involved in removing these impediments to life's natural
course: Widespread expert consensus holds that man-
kind's actions over the next few decades will determine
the fate of innumerable biotic components (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003, Groom et al. 2006). The
following passage from Principles of Conservation Biology
by Groom et al. (2006) conveys this urgency:

Of the hundreds of thousands of human genera-
tions that have ever existed, no previous genera-
tion has had to respond to possible annihilation
of a large percentage of the species diversity on
the planet by humans. Unless humanity acts
quickly and in a significant way, the next genera-
tion may not have this opportunity. (page 6)

For those who require a more local warning, Hoctor
writes, "the future of Florida's biodiversity will likely be
determined by the conservation planning conducted
and policies enacted over the next ten to twenty years"
(2003, page 13). In short, the preservation of biotic
diversity requires immediate attention.

Biodiversity's Significance*
Why all the concern over biodiversity? If many of
mankind's activities are incompatible with life's natural
course, why bother to change our practices, most of
which have served us well thus far? The answer to this
reasonable question centers on biodiversity's consider-
able worth, often divided into two categories: (1.) instru-
mental value, or utilitarian importance to mankind, and
(2.) intrinsic value, life's inherent, self-contained worth
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Carr et al. 2002).
Biodiversity's instrumental value is founded in
its provision of numerous essential benefits to people
(Figure 2.5). The following is a partial list of life's direct
services to mankind, also known as ecosystem services2:

--Gas regulation (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,
Costanza et al. 1997): as in maintaining the atmo-
spheric balance of CO2 and 02
--Climate regulation (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,
Costanza et al. 1997, Reid et al. 2005): including the
control of atmospheric carbon and the stimulation of
--Soil creation (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Costanza

2 Not all ecosystem services are derived from biodiver-
sity; some are provided by non-living phenomena (e.g.,
the ozone layer).

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues

et al. 1997): e.g., through the provision and decom-
position of organic matter
--Erosion control and sediment retention (Costanza
et al. 1997, Reid et al. 2005): for example, riparian
banks held in place by vegetation
--Waste treatment (Forman 1995, Costanza et al.
1997, Reid et al. 2005): for example, bioremediation
--Raw material production (Costanza et al. 1997, Reid
et al. 2005): to include lumber, fuel, fibers
--Pollination (Costanza et al. 1997, Reid et al. 2005):
e.g., insects and bats pollinating fruit
--Food production (Forman 1995, Costanza et al.
1997, Reid et al. 2005): including botanical, animal,
fungal and other sources
--Creation of chemical and medicinal products (Wil-
son 1984, Forman 1995, Reid et al. 2005): oil, for
--Biological control (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,
Costanza et al. 1997): e.g., predator regulation of
herbivore populations
--Provision of recreational opportunities (Costanza et

al. 1997, Reid et al. 2005): for instance, fishing, hunt-
ing, and eco-tourism
--Psychological and spiritual stimulation (Kaplan and
Kaplan 1989, Groom et al. 2006): as in the inspira-
tion of awe and the facilitation of mental recovery

These benefits generally fall outside the domain
of markets and are therefore often undervalued or even
inestimable in economic terms (Costanza et al. 1997).
Nonetheless, a team of ecologists and economists led
by Robert Costanza of the University of Maryland more
than a decade ago (1997) developed a rough estimate
of the economic value of worldwide ecosystem services.
Costanza's team concluded that these services were at
the time worth an average of $33 trillion per year, com-
pared with (then) worldwide gross national product of
$18 trillion.
Given the essential nature of the services
provided by life and their incredible economic value, we
must preserve biodiversity or face the impoverishment or
collapse of our life-support systems (along with financial


/ Security

Basic material
for good life


of choice
and action

Good social relations

Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Potential for mediation by
socioeconomic factors


S High

Intensity of linkages between ecosystem
services and human well-being


I I Strong

Figure 2.5: A few ecosystem services and their contributions to
human well-being. (Reid et al. 2005)

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues

ruin) (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Randolph 2004). This
logical, cost-benefit appeal to human self-interest repre-
sents the instrumental justification for the conservation
of biodiversity.
Aside from its instrumental or utilitarian value,
many have argued that biodiversity possesses an intrinsic
value, an inherent worth altogether independent of its
usefulness to humans (Wilson 1984, Soule 1985, Noss
and Cooperrider 1994). From this perspective, recogni-
tion of biodiversity's innate value morally compels us to
conserve it (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Groom 2006).
E.O. Wilson and fellow biologist Paul Ehrlich (1991) have
tied this moral obligation to both our immense power
over other living things (power corresponding with re-
sponsibility) and to the fact that earth's non-human life-
forms are our only known companions in the universe.
Approaching this issue logically, Noss and Coop-
errider believe that if humans have intrinsic value, and if
our value is no greater than that of any other living thing
(they see "no objective reason for believing that humans
are fundamentally superior to any other organism"; page
23), then all living things have intrinsic value (1994). Oth-
ers note that if biodiversity both preceded and gave rise
to humanity, it must have value in and of itself (Groom
et al. 2006). Going a step further, Holmes Rolston (1988)
proposed that ecosystems, too, have intrinsic value, since
they are required for the continuation and evolution of
individual organisms.
Though less concrete than the instrumental
justification for conservation, the intrinsic-value position

Figure 2.6: Mankind's expanding scope of concern. (Noss and Cooper-
rider 1994)

may offer a deeper, more versatile rationale for the pro-
tection of life, ecosystems, and natural processes (Groom
et al. 2006). Callicot argues (in Groom et al. 2006) that if
the intrinsic value of biodiversity were as widely recog-
nized as the intrinsic value of human life, then "sufficient
justification [would be required] for putting it at risk-just
as we demand sufficient justification for putting soldiers
at risk by sending them to war" (page 115). In other
words, were the intrinsic value of non-human life widely
accepted, the burden of proof would fall upon those who
propose to meddle with it, and not upon those who seek
to preserve it (Groom et al. 2006). If humanity's ever-
expanding scope of concern (Figure 2.6) comes to fully
include biodiversity, as it has commoners, women, and
minorities, instrumental justifications for the protection
of nature may be rendered moot.
Despite their very different foundations, the
instrumental-value and intrinsic-value arguments both
point in the same direction: Conserve biodiversity (Fig-
ure 2.7). Viewed in this light, debate about their relative
merits becomes less critical and perhaps counterproduc-
tive. Essentially, there exist a number of sound and vital
reasons-appealing to a wide range of philosophies and
political outlooks-for conserving the richness of life,
along with the systems and processes that make it pos-

Anthropocentric instrumental values C
Conserve biodiversity
Non-anthropocentric intrinsic values
Figure 2.7: Norton's convergence hypothesis. (Groom et al. 2006)

Related Issues
As mentioned earlier, the biodiversity crisis corresponds
with other land-use-related problems in the United
States and especially in Florida. Although these issues
are not the primary focus of this paper, they form an im-
portant sub-theme because of their acute nature in the
Heartland Region (and beyond), and because they most
likely arise from the same land-use practices that erode
biodiversity. These concerns include (but are not limited
to) increasingly limited freshwater, the loss of agricultural
land, degraded visual resources, and high infrastructure
First, the United States-particularly Florida-
lacks sufficient freshwater supplies to sustain its current
way of life (C. Barnett 2007). In the west, interstate
conflict over the Colorado River is a decades-old tragedy,
while in the southeast, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida
currently battle in court over the water resources of the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin (C. Barnett 2007.

Chapter 2: Biodiversity and Related Issues

Locally, at least two of Florida's five Water Management
Districts, both extending into the Heartland Region,
have been forced to restrict freshwater use, and one has
resorted to costly desalinization (, www. Furthermore, Florida's aquifers, upon
which the state is heavily dependent for drinking water,
face threats of varying severity (C. Barnett 2007).
The water crisis, or at least the supply side of
it, is closely tied to land use. Sprawling development
with its impervious pavement and rooftops, interrupts
the hydrologic cycle, accelerating runoff and riverine
flows while decreasing the quantity of water reaching
aquifers (Randolph 2004). While the aquifer retreats,
pollution and sediment fill rivers and streams (lakes, too),
compounding water quality and quantity problems for
Productive lands are also threatened by inef-
ficient development. Several sources point out that large
swaths of valuable agricultural lands are quickly being
consumed by urban and suburban development in the
U.S. (Forman 1995, Randolph 2004, Carr and Zwick 2007,
J. Barnett 2007, Steiner 2008). In quantitative terms, the
EPA estimates that development consumes 3,000 acres of
productive agricultural land daily in the U.S. (U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency n.d.a.). In Florida, an average
of 10,000 acres of agricultural land are lost to develop-
ment each year (Kolankiewicz and Beck 2006). This brew-
ing crisis has yet to become a headlining issue, but the
loss of food- and fiber-producing acreage will eventually
come to the fore as growing U.S. and world populations
test the limits of earth's carrying capacity (Ornstein and
Ehrlich 1989).
Furthermore, the same land-use practices that
contribute to the above crises degrade visual resources,
especially in rural and small-town regions like the Heart-
land. Carr and Zwick (2007), for example, lament the loss

of pastoral and natural scenery in formerly rural portions
of north Florida. In much of the state, these and other
scenic landscapes are being subsumed by dispersed,
sprawling development that results in places which "lack
unique identities" (Barnett et al. 2005, page 3). Visual
resources, small-town character, and ultimately quality
of life are all at stake when land-use decisions are made
(Randolph 2004).
Finally, inefficient land-use patterns waste public
funds. As far-flung natural and agricultural greenfields
are developed, roads, sewer lines, water service, the
electric grid, and school systems must be expanded to
accommodate new, relatively remote homes and busi-
nesses. Much of this cost is unnecessary in that ample
developable (or redevelopable) acreage exists in areas
already served by infrastructure. From a fiscal perspec-
tive, extending public services to peripheral subdivisions
and office parks at public cost is simply irresponsible.

A Common Denominator*
These hydrologic, agricultural, visual-resource, and fiscal
problems relate closely to the loss of biodiversity in that
what ameliorates one of the four issues generally helps
resolve the others (Randolph 2004). The conservation of
undeveloped land protects habitat, provides for aquifer
recharge and the buffering of water bodies, preserves
farmland, maintains scenic landscapes, and saves public
money. While this paper emphasizes biodiversity, the
land-use precedents, models, and recommendations
described herein should carry extra weight given their
potential to simultaneously address multiple land-use-
based problems. I hope to emphasize throughout the
paper that well-conceived land-use decisions can often
lead to win-win outcomes, improving circumstances for
humans and non-humans alike.

As designers and planners we must weave together this mosaic of patches and corridor networks, like a quilt
held together with threads, to hold the landscape from falling apart.
--GRANT JONES, quoted in Dramstad et al. (1996), Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape
Architecture and Land-Use Planning, page 5

Figure 3.1: A fragmented landscape in Australia. (

In Chapter Two, I attempted to show that life faces sig-
nificant challenges at the genetic, species, and ecosystem
levels, that natural processes face large-scale disruption,
and that many of these difficulties stem from human
modification of the land. Before launching into specific
land-use recommendations for biodiversity, it is neces-
sary to examine non-human life's relationship with land
use. This chapter therefore offers introductions to island
biogeography and landscape ecology, both integral to the
comprehension of biodiversity's relationship with land
use. It then defines and discusses habitat fragmentation,
biodiversity's most significant land-use-related impedi-

Island Biogeography
Many, if not most, biologists cite the fragmentation of
habitat as the principal cause of biodiversity's recent
decline (Harris 1984, Noss and Cooperrider 1994, van
Langevelde 1994, Forman 1995, Hoctor 2003, Groom
et al. 2006). Discussed in more detail later, fragmenta-
tion is essentially the "incremental conversion of natural

areas to other uses, reducing and isolating core habi-
tats" (Randolph 2004). The fragmentation/reduction of
habitat results in a familiar mosaic of vegetated patches
surrounded by farmland or development (Figure 3.1).
Seen from the air, these remnant (or introduced) habitat
patches resemble islands, separated from similar habitat
by tracts of sometimes very dissimilar land cover.
Originating in the eighteenth century and popu-
larized in the 1960s by biologists Robert MacArthur and
E.O. Wilson, island biogeography seeks to explain and
predict the number of species on true islands based on
their size, age, and distance from the mainland. In a nut-
shell, MacArthur and Wilson, like the seagoing naturalists
of the eighteenth century, found that species richness
correlated directly with island size and age and varied
inversely with an island's distance from the mainland
(Harris 1984, Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
MacArthur and Wilson proposed an "equilibrium
theory" to explain these relationships. Species arrive at
and establish themselves on an island through coloniza-
tion, they postulated, and leave by way of extinction (For-

Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation

man 1995). Thus, "the number of species on an island
represents the balance between the rate of coloniza-
tion and the rate of extinction" (Forman 1995, page 56)
(Figure 3.2). Predictably, islands closer to the mainland
enjoy higher rates of colonization than their more remote
counterparts, while larger islands, with their larger
populations, experience fewer extinctions than smaller
ones (Harris 1984, Forman 1995). As for age, the least
important of the three factors, newer islands have had
less time to collect colonists and therefore usually have
fewer species than older ones (Forman 1995). In addi-
tion, it was found that intermediate islands, or "stepping-
stones", enhance the colonization rates of islands farther
out from the mainland (Forman 1995). An essential
conclusion to be drawn from these relationships is that
larger islands that are closer to a species source (i.e., the
mainland) will have greater species richness (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994).

S Colonization o Extinction
I.\\ /

Number of Species
Figure 3.2: Colonization-extinction equilibriums (i.e., species richness)
vary according to islands' size and distance from the mainland. (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994)

Conservationists were quick to link island
biogeographic theory to the problem of habitat frag-
mentation (Hoctor 2003). If habitat patches surrounded
by less-hospitable land cover were analogous to islands
surrounded by water, then small, isolated patches should
contain fewer species than large patches near a species
source. For this reason it has been assumed that nature
reserves should be both large and proximate to a species
source (Hoctor 2003). Although island biogeographic
theory offers an imperfect framework for considering ter-
restrial habitat patches-surrounding land, for one thing,
being far more traversable for most species than sur-

rounding water-it has furthered our understanding of
species dynamics in fragmented landscapes (Harris 1984,
Forman 1995, Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Groom et al.
2006). Conservation principles to emerge from island
biogeographic theory include the following':

--Larger habitat patches generally host more species
than smaller ones (Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
--Habitat patches that are close together are pre-
ferred over those that are dispersed (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994).
--Stepping stones (intermediate habitat patches)
can help species move from patch to patch (Forman

These concepts, though derived from an examination
of true islands, helped catalyze the primarily terrestrial
discipline of landscape ecology. And, as will be seen
shortly, they also help explain habitat fragmentation's
many harmful effects.

Landscape Ecology
Landscape ecology, a relatively new science whose vocab-
ulary and concepts facilitate comprehension of landscape
structure and function, defines the land as a heteroge-
neous assemblage of simple elements, the most impor-
tant of which are patches, corridors, and matrices (Cook
and van Lier 1994, Forman 1995) (Figure 3.3). As sug-
gested above, patches are simply homogenous polygonal
areas which differ to some degree from their surround-
ings (Forman 1995). Exemplified by remnant plots of
native vegetation in a developed (fragmented) landscape,
patches provide habitat and refuge for organisms who
often find the predominant landscape element (in this
example developed land) inhospitable (Forman 1995).
Landscape ecologists term this predominant element the
"matrix" (Forman 1995). It is generally the most exten-
sive and interconnected component of the landscape,
and can take the form of forest, cultivated land, devel-
oped land, etc. (Randolph 2004). Similarly, corridors are
"linear or elongated patches" (Randolph 2004, page 513)
winding through the matrix, often connecting patches.
Strips of vegetation along watercourses represent a com-
mon and important corridor type (Forman 1995).

Desirable Patch Characteristics
In terms of patches, there exist important considerations
relating to ideal size, shape, and composition. As would
be expected, landscape ecologists, drawing in part on

1 Conservation principles and reserve design will be
discussed in more detail in Chapter 4.

Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation

matri -

Figure 3.3: Landscape elements. (

island biogeographic theory, recommend the preserva-
tion of large patches for the maintenance of biodiversity
(van Langevelde 1994, Forman 1995). Not only do large
patches sustain larger populations, which are less vulner-
able to extinction (Noss and Cooperrider 1994), they
offer valuable interior habitat (a.k.a. core habitat)--home
to many rare and sensitive species--and they provide
habitat diversity (Dramstad et al. 1996). Small patches,
for their part, can provide refuge for wildlife (and people)
in developed landscapes, and can act as stepping stones
between larger habitat areas (Forman 1995). With
regard to shape, it is proposed that patches include both
a core area for interior species and a few dendritic arms
to enhance species dispersal (Dramstad et al. 1996).
Composition-wise, structural diversity, often caused by
natural disturbances, is recommended within patches
(Forman 1995).

Desirable Corridor Characteristics
The structure and function of corridors is also of signifi-
cance to biodiversity. Among the several functions of
corridors proposed by Forman (1995), three are relevant
here. First, corridors (natural ones, at least) provide habi-
tat, often for edge, or generalist, species, but occasionally
for specialized species, especially in riparian contexts
(Forman 1995). Corridors also function as conduits for
organisms and other natural phenomena, providing a
pathway for water, nutrients, seeds, animals, etc. to
move across the landscape (Forman 1995). Given their
conveyance of plants, animals, and other organisms, cor-
ridors act as species sources, bringing new life to patches
with which they intersect (Forman 1995). This conduit/
source role makes corridors particularly critical to the

preservation of biodiversity in fragmented landscapes
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
Certain corridor characteristics can enhance con-
duit and source functionality, and some of these qualities
are integral to Chapter 4's discussion of reserve design. A
corridor's width, for example, has significant bearing on
its utility as a conduit/source (Harris and Scheck 1991,
Forman 1995, Dramstad et al. 1996). In general, wider
corridors allow greater species movement and there-
fore serve as better conduits/sources (and habitat) than
narrow ones (Forman 1995). Connectivity, a measure of
connectedness that varies inversely with the number of
gaps in a corridor, also affects conduit/source functional-
ity; not surprisingly, higher connectivity enhances both
functions (Forman 1995, Dramstad et al. 1996). Where
corridor gaps cannot be avoided, stepping stones (small
intermediate patches between corridor termini) can
mitigate the effects of low connectivity (Dramstad et al.
1996). In addition, corridors whose vegetative character-
istics matches that of their component patches will pro-
mote enhanced inter-patch species movement (Dramstad
et al. 1996).
On the other hand, some corridors-roads
for example-can act as barriers to species movement
and as conduits for development, poachers, and exotic
species (Forman 1995). The barrier effects of road cor-
ridors, a leading cause of habitat fragmentation, can be
ameliorated to a degree by over- and under-passes or
tunnels for wildlife (Forman 1995) (Figure 3.4). As will
be discussed later, road density has become an impor-
tant indicator of habitat suitability, particularly for large
mammals such as elk (Cervus canadensis) and black bears
(Ursus americanus) (Forman 1995).


Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation

2004). As pointed out earlier, this process is the principal
cause of the current biodiversity crisis2 (Harris 1984, Noss
and Cooperrider 1994, van Langevelde 1994, Forman
1995, Hoctor 2003, Groom et al. 2006). Constructive ap-
proaches to this problem require a moderately detailed
understanding of habitat fragmentation's consequences,
which include small, isolated populations, edge effects,
and disrupted natural regimes.


Figure 3.4: A bobcat (Lynx rufus) using an underpass in Florida. (www.

In Sum: Indispensable Landscape Components
Landscape ecology thus offers a vocabulary and frame-
work for describing and understanding landscape struc-
ture and function, and it provides an important scien-
tific foundation for land-use-based efforts to preserve
biodiversity. Its tenets arise in numerous conservation
contexts (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Carr et al. 2002,
Hoctor 2003, Randolph 2004), and, by way of internation-
al corroboration, have been used by conservation plan-
ners in Europe (Cook and van Lier 1994). Forman (1995)
summarizes landscape ecology's conservation-related
conclusions as follows:

Four indispensable components in the landscape
are: A few large patches of natural vegetation,
wide vegetation corridors along major water
courses, connectivity for movement of key
species among the large patches, and heteroge-
neous bits of nature throughout human-devel-
oped areas. (page 452)

Informed by these principles, we will now look in more
detail at the land-use-based causes of biodiversity's
decline, which will in turn lead to a brief discussion of
conservation biology and reserve design.

Habitat Fragmentation
Underlying the above discussion of islands, patches,
corridors, and inhospitable matrices is the unfortunate
fact that our state and national landscapes have become
severely fragmented (Peck 1998), leaving us with little
more than these puzzle-piece-like components (For-
man 1995) (Figure 3.5). Recall that fragmentation is the
reduction and isolation of habitat areas caused primarily
by human modification of natural land cover (Randolph

S l 1

* I

a -.


. la *P1m




I "

1 950

Figure 3.5: Loss of natural land cover (fragmentation) near
Cadiz, Wisconsin, 1831-1950. (

Small, Isolated Populations
The most obvious constraints associated with fragmented
habitat are that remnant patches are generally too small
to support viable populations of many organisms, and
that their movement from one patch to another is often a
great challenge or even an impossibility (Noss and Coop-
errider 1994, Forman 1995). Three types of species are
largely unaffected by these limitations: those that can
survive in the matrix surrounding remnant patches (e.g.,
house mice), those "able to maintain viable populations
within individual habitat fragments" (e.g., microbes), and
those which are mobile enough to move from patch to
patch (e.g., certain birds) (Noss and Cooperrider 1994;
quote from page 53). Nearly all other (non-human) life
forms face significant challenges in fragmented environ-
It was pointed out earlier that small popula-
tions are inherently more vulnerable to extinction than

2 Climate change and invasive species are other causes
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Groom et al. 2006) but are
generally beyond the scope of this paper.

Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation

large ones (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). Especially in
the case of larger mammals, many, if not most, patches
possess insufficient area and resources to sustain viable
populations (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Randolph
2004). What constitutes a viable population? In very
general terms, 500 breeding individuals are required for
the long-term viability of a population, meaning that
the total number of individuals would need to "greatly
exceed" 500 (Harris 1984; quote from page 104).3 Below
this threshold, populations are exposed to inbreeding,
reduced fertility, genetic drift, and a general shortage of
the genetic variability needed to both sustain a healthy
population and allow it to adapt (Noss and Cooperrider
1994, Hoctor 2003).
To consider one example, the Florida panther

faces a high threat of
extinction (U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service n.d.)
because of its restric-
tion to a relatively
large habitat patch in
south Florida (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994,
Hoctor 2003). Although
this landscape includes
some 2.2 million acres,
it cannot support a
viable population of
panthers because each
animal requires on the
order of 30,000 acres
of habitat (Kautz et al.
2006) (Figure 3.6). As
a result, the panther
finds itself threatened

its population expand northward from its present terri-
tory in the Everglades region (Hoctor 2003). However,
the panther's incompatibility with disturbed landscapes
and its difficulty crossing highways have deepened its
isolation (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Comiskey et al.
2002, Kautz et al. 2006). These challenges to wildlife
movement imply a strong need for inter-patch connec-
tivity (Randolph 2004), a topic discussed in more detail
in Chapter 4. In the absence of functional linkages,
island biogeographic theory becomes more applicable to
patches, suggesting that many small, isolated patches will
contain few species.

Edge Effects and Disrupted Natural Regimes
Habitat fragmentation presents other, more subtle

Florida Panther

Density estimated at 1 panther per 27,000 32,000 acres / /
Figure 3.6: Estimated carrying capacities of primary and secondary panther habitat
areas in south Florida. (Kautz et al. 2006)

by inbreeding, reduced fertility, and a loss of evolutionary
potential (Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
The risks of living in an undersized, isolated
patch would be of far less consequence if organisms
could move easily among patches. However, in frag-
mented landscapes, developed and even agricultural
matrices represent significant barriers to movement for
many species, thereby increasing their isolation (Forman
1995). Roads in particular hinder movement between
patches. Some species avoid them altogether while
others are regularly killed or injured attempting to cross
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003). The panther,
for example, would enjoy a more favorable outlook could

3 This so-called 50/500 rule has in many contexts been
replaced by more specific and sophisticated viability
analyses; however, it remains a useful standard.

problems. As Forman
puts it, "[f]ragmenta-
tion affects nearly all
ecological patterns and
processes" including
flows of wind, water,
and nutrients (1995;
quote from page 415).
Of particular concern
are fragmentation's
promotion of edge
effects and its modifica-
tion of natural regimes.
Edge effects occur
where different land
covers or successional
stages border one
another--e.g., where a
row crops abut wood-
lands--and they usually

extend at least 150 feet into a patch (Randolph 2004)
(Figure 3.7). Along these edges, species may encounter
different microclimates and special types of predation
and competition (Peck 1998). As a case in point, wood-
land birds living near pasture edges are subject to higher
than normal rates of brood parasitism by the brown-
headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), which thrives along
such boundaries (Steinitz et al. 1996). In general, edge
effects contrast with interior conditions, which feature
decreased human influence, a more stable microclimate,
and a higher proportion of specialist species (Forman
1995). By increasing the proportion of edge-to-interior
area, fragmentation reduces the extent of valuable inte-
rior habitat (Forman 1995).
Finally, natural regimes-to which many organ-
isms are closely adapted-are also impacted by frag-

Chapter 3: Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology, and Habitat Fragmentation


S Edge (-100 m from edge)
l Intenor ( >100 m from edge)
Deep wood Intennr t>200 m from edoe

Figure 3.7: Edge versus interior habitat. Various effects from the ma-
trix surrounding these patches extend into the patches themselves.

mentation (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Forman 1995,
Randolph 2004). Fragmented landscapes can inhibit fire
(Randolph 2004); increase storms' impact on plants and

animals (Forman 1995); and slow (or prevent) forest re-
generation (Forman 1995). None of these changes bode
well for biodiversity.

Other Costs*
In sum, habitat fragmentation, perhaps the norm in
Florida's and America's present-day landscape, threatens
biodiversity in several ways, not the least of which are its
reduction, isolation, and sometimes extirpation of wildlife
populations, its promotion of edge effects, and its impair-
ment of natural regimes. The effects of fragmentation
have also begun to impact people, particularly in hydro-
logic terms. For example, reduced riparian vegetation
and increased impervious surface (paving)--both charac-
teristic of fragmented landscapes--exacerbate flooding
and accelerate aquifer degradation, which are potentially
disastrous problems in populated areas (Forman 1995,
Steinitz et al. 1996, C. Barnett 2007). More generally, as
a threat to biodiversity, habitat fragmentation imperils
the many ecosystem services outlined in Chapter 2. The
reduction and isolation of natural habitat thus represents
"one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide"
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, page 51) and involves
significant costs to people. The remainder of this paper
explores potential solutions to this critical issue.

In response to the problems of habitat fragmentation, landscape ecologists and wildlife managers have
recognized the need to preserve and connect core habitats.
--JOHN RANDOLPH (2004), Environmental Land Use Planning and Management, page 559

Figure 4.1: Bison (Bison bison) in Yellowstone National Park, the core of one of North America's largest conservation areas. (

Recall that biodiversity includes organisms, genetic
resources, communities/ecosystems, and ecological and
evolutionary processes (Keystone Center 1991). Con-
servation-oriented disciplines, such as the relatively new
sciences of landscape ecology and conservation biology,
recognize that these biotic components require signifi-
cant amounts of land if they are to persist. More specifi-
cally, sufficient land must be set aside to represent all
ecosystem types, to maintain viable populations of all na-
tive species, and to maintain natural processes (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003). As such, many experts
feel that land conservation amounts to the "cornerstone
of a national biodiversity strategy" (Noss and Cooperrider
1994, page 93). Unfortunately, traditional approaches
to land conservation, such as the preservation of scenic
(e.g., Yellowstone) or undesirable (e.g., the Everglades)
areas, have proved inadequate (see Chapter 5), prompt-
ing the development over the past thirty or so years of a
number of conservation (or "reserve design") principles
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003). The most
important of these principles, offered in simplified form,

are the focus of this chapter.

Reserve Extent and Context*
Guidelines for reserve extent and context attempt to
establish how much land should be set aside for con-
servation and what land uses should surround it. Given
nature's complexity, it is hardly surprising that no uni-
versal prescription exists; in truly concise form, these
guidelines could be summarized, "it depends". For our
purposes, it should be sufficient to consider the following
criteria when evaluating reserve extent:

--Does the reserve include adequate interior habitat?
Smaller reserves will be more heavily impacted by
edge effects, and may in fact include little more than
edge habitat (Peck 1998). If protecting interior spe-
cies is a concern, reserves will need to be larger and
shaped in such a way (e.g., somewhat circular) that
sufficient interior habitat is included (Peck 1998).
--What is the overall quality of habitat within the
reserve? "Poor habitat quality can reduce the effec-

Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

tive size of a reserve by reducing the populations it is
able to support" (Peck 1998, page 95). Thus reserves
containing high-quality habitat may not require as
much area as those containing a higher proportion of
marginal habitat.
--Is the reserve large enough to support disturbance
regimes? Many organisms are dependent upon
natural disturbance regimes, but recently disturbed
areas may not be inhabitable by these and other
species (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Peck 1998). For
this reason, reserves should be large enough that
disturbances affect only "a relatively small
any one time" (Noss and Cooperrider 1994; quote
page 165).
--Are all communities or habitat types and all species
native to the region included? (See Chapter 5 for a
more in-depth discussion of this consideration.)
--Is the reserve large enough to support wide-ranging
species? Thousands of acres are required to support
a single panther, grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horri-
lis), or wolf pack (Canis lupus) (Harris 1984). Many
consider these and other wide-ranging carnivores to
be keystone species, or organisms whose presence
is essential to an ecosystem's health (Kendeigh et al.
1950-51, Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Forman 1995).
Because reserves capable of sustaining large-carni-
vore populations may require in excess of 10 million
acres (Noss and Cooperrider 1994)-an area larger
than the state of Maryland-the concept of inter-re-
serve connectivity, discussed in the next section, has
become increasingly important (Hoctor 2003).

Context is closely linked to extent in that recom-
mended reserve size varies directly with surrounding
land-use intensity (Harris 1984). Harris (1984) notes that
an old-growth forest reserve surrounded by clear-cut and
early-seral-stage regeneration might require as much as
ten times the area of an old-growth reserve surrounded
by mature timber. Widespread recognition that context
is vital to the functioning of a biotic reserve (Harris 1984,
Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003) has led to
proposals that reserves be surrounded by buffer zones,
mostly-natural areas in which low-intensity human activi-
ties, such as recreation or carefully managed silviculture,
are allowed (Harris 1984, Peck 1998, Hoctor et al. 2000).
Surrounding land use therefore represents an important
consideration as reserves are sized and located.
The bottom line in reserve size and context is
of course function (Peck 1998). A buffered million-acre
reserve that fails to represent all regional ecosystem
types, maintain viable populations of native species,
and support natural process is probably of less value to

biodiversity than a pasture-ringed 700,000 acre reserve
that does achieve these objectives. All things considered,
scientific estimates of the portion of a region that should
be preserved range from 25-75% (Noss and Cooperrider

Reserve function can be greatly enhanced by connectiv-
ity, which is in general terms "the capacity of a landscape
to support the movements of organisms, materials, or
energy" (Peck 1998, page 73) (Figure 4.2). I will take a
more narrow view, emphasizing what Noss and Coop-
errider (1994) call "functional connectivity", or a land-
scape's traversability for certain target species. This
potential for population and genetic interchange makes
connectivity a key conservation principle, especially given
that individual reserves are often inadequate to sustain
populations of wide-ranging species (Chapter 3, Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003). Indeed, some believe
that few reserves are viable as self-contained units (Ste-
initz 1996). This section will therefore describe several
functions of connectivity and examine some of its physi-
cal manifestations.



6A B ft,
Figure 4.2: High (A) and low (B) connectivity landscapes. (Randolph 2004)

The Benefits of Connectivity
Connectivity, also referred to as habitat linkage, serves
biodiversity in several ways. As mentioned, its principal
advantage is the facilitation of species movement, a kind
of bio-conductivity which operates at several levels. First,
connectivity allows members of a species to move about
within their home range (Hoctor 2003). Such movement
includes seasonal migration--as in the case of elk, who
use forested corridors to move between summer and
winter ranges--and locomotion for purposes of forag-
ing or hunting (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Peck 1998).
Connectivity also facilitates the dispersal of species
(Peck 1998, Randolph 2004), bridging, in the parlance of

Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

island biogeography, species sources and habitat islands.
Sub-adult male black bears, for example, migrate away
from their parents' home ranges, dispersing anywhere
from a few miles to more than a hundred (Hoctor 2003).
In addition, the threat of climate change suggests that
connectivity may provide an essential escape route for
species affected by sea-level rise or changed habitat
conditions (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003).
Locally, the Florida panther may soon be forced to move
northward if its current low-lying home range is claimed
by Florida Bay.
Connectivity also serves to meld semi-distinct
populations into metapopulations (van Langevelde 1994),
which are simply networks of component populations
that benefit from intermigration and the exchange of
genetic material (Groom et al. 2006) (Figure 4.3). Due
to habitat fragmentation's partition of landscapes and
populations worldwide, metapopulations are increasingly
common and important (Peck 1998). Not only does a
functional metapopulation-
-made possible by habitat
connectivity--promote inter-
breeding, it also decreases
the severity of local extinc-
tions, since other compo-
nent groups of a metapopu-
lation are able to recolonize
vacant areas (Peck 1998).
To return to the black bear
example, conservation plan-
ners in Florida believe that
linking the state's five main
subpopulations (Figure 2.3)
into one or more functioning
metapopulations will im-
prove the species' chances
for survival in an increasingly Figure 4.3: A metapopulation made
fragmented landscape (Hoc-
tor 2003).

Connectivity in the Landscape*
In many ways, then, connectivity is the opposite of
fragmentation, mitigating isolation, enhancing move-
ment, and bolstering populations against inbreeding and
extinction. As a result, it has been accepted as "a critical
reserve design principle" (Hoctor 2003, page 51; Kautz et
al. 2006, Hoctor et al. 2008). But what does connectivity
look like in the landscape? Further, what characteristics
should ideal habitat linkages exhibit? Given their practi-
cal significance to current conservation efforts, these
issues will be briefly addressed here.
Corridors, introduced in the discussion of land-


scape ecology (Chapter 3), are the fundamental unit of
connectivity, and they are supplemented in some cases
by stepping stones and what may be called barrier-re-
duction (Forman 1995, Dramstad et al. 1996, Peck 1998,
Randolph 2004). Defined earlier as "linear or elongated
patches" (Randolph 2004, page 513), corridors provide
connectivity by linking pieces of habitat, thereby facilitat-
ing the inter-patch movement of organisms (Randolph
2004).1 Examples of corridors include riparian strips,
washes, hedgerows, and essentially any other bands of
remnant vegetation (Forman 1995). Riparian corridors
are of special significance because they are nutrient-rich,
hardwood-dominated2, and, of course, relatively abun-
dant in water, which is valuable both for drinking and as
the basis for rich aquatic food chains (Harris 1984, Dram-
stad et al. 1996).
In general, corridors providing optimal con-
nectivity for biotic elements should exhibit the following
characteristics, many of which will be recognizable as
products of landscape ecol-
ogy (see Chapter 3):

--Wide corridors are prefer-
able to narrow ones, but
precise width requirements
Codow vary across species (Ran-
dolph 2004, Groom et al.
2006). Moreover, viable
minimum width is depen-
dent upon corridor length
(Peck 1998). The black bear,
for example, is thought to
need a minimum corridor
width of approximately 5 km
for regional-scale connectiv-
ity (Hoctor 2003), but for
ible by connectivity. ( more local movement may
require a clearance of only
a few dozen meters (Hillary Swain, personal commu-
nication). The length of time a corridor is expected
to function is also an issue. Corridor-width rules-of-
thumb put forth by Harris and Scheck (1991) provide
a useful summary: A short-term (i.e., weeks or
months) corridor for well-studied individual animals
calls for a width measured in "tens of meters"; a
1 Although the term "corridor" can also refer to human-
wrought features of a linear nature, such as roads and
canals (Forman 1995), I will use it as Randolph (2004)
does--to refer to elongated, natural or semi-natural
patches that link other patches.
2 Harris states that hardwoods provide greater quantities
of food for wildlife than do conifers (1984, pp. 142-143).

Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

corridor expected to function for years for an entire
well-studied species requires a width measured
in "hundreds of meters"; while a long-term (i.e.,
decades or centuries) corridor serving many poorly-
understood species necessitates a width measured
in kilometers (quoted in Forman 1995, page 155).
(Note also the importance of understanding the cor-
ridor's users.)
--Functional corridors also exhibit continuity (Ran-
dolph 2004). Corridors should include few gaps, and
unavoidable gaps should be of limited width (Forman
1995). Some types of squirrels, for example, seem
to require "an essentially continuous line of trees
to move between dispersed woods" (Forman 1995,
page 202). Bottlenecks in corridors are also to be
avoided (Hoctor, personal communication).
--In terms of vegetation, corridors whose floristic
features match those of the patches they connect
are preferred (Dramstad et al. 1996), and those com-
posed of native vegetation are preferred to those
dominated by introduced plants (Randolph 2004). In
addition, corridors offering structural diversity (i.e.,
a range of vegetation types) are favored over those
exhibiting homogeneity (Forman 1995, Randolph
2004). Heterogeneity is of special importance if
corridors are to support the movements of multiple
species (Randolph 2004).
--When possible, redundant corridors, those provid-
ing more than one route along which to move from
patch to patch, are also desirable (Randolph 2004).

Randolph (2004) provides a concise summary of ideal
corridor features: "Corridors should be continuous, wide
as possible, redundant, and reflective of natural and
historic conditions" (page 559) (Figure 4.4).
Where gaps in and barriers to connectivity
are found, corridors may be supplemented by stepping
stones and certain barrier-reducing features. Stepping
stones--small, dispersed patches between larger habitat
blocks--provide a degree of connectivity where corridor
gaps are unavoidable3 (Dramstad et al. 1996) (Figure
4.5). Ideally, stepping stones should be arranged in a
linear cluster, wherein redundant travel routes between
patches are possible (Dramstad et al. 1996).
Barrier-reducing features, such as wildlife over-
and underpasses, serve to maintain connectivity where
permanent corridor obstructions, most notably roads,
are found (Forman 1995). Forman (1995) observes that
such features have been used in Europe, Australia, and in
various American states, including Florida. Alligators (Alli-
gator mississippiensis), for example, rely on underpasses
beneath U.S. 441 near Gainesville, Florida, to access the
full extent of Payne's Prairie, a local wetland (personal
observation). Likewise, panthers use underpasses to
traverse 1-75 in south Florida (Noss and Cooperrider
1994, Forman 1995). Thus, corridor gaps and obstruc-
tions should not be viewed as insurmountable obstacles,
but rather as challenges to be overcome through creative
landscape solutions. On the other hand, the creation of

3 The utility of stepping stones will depend to some de-
gree on the species using them and the condition of the
matrix (Hoctor, personal communication).

Bi cit. i
I rr7
B' 1~1


( continuous corridors are better than fragmented corridors.

Natural connectivity should be maintained or restored.
Figure 4.4: A summary of desirable corridor attributes. (Randolph 2004)

Wider corridors are better than narrow corridors.

Two or more corridor connections between patches
(redundancy) are better than one.



Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

Lower Connectivity ) Higher Connectivity
Figure 4.5: Habitat patches in a stepping-stone pattern provide a degree
of connectivity. (
new barriers to natural flows--again, roads are the pri-
mary culprit here--should be avoided or at least carefully
planned (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor 2003).

Conservation Networks
Modern conservation principles, many of which are
grounded in island biogeography and landscape ecol-
ogy, thus call for adequately sized and buffered habitat
patches linked by connective features such as corridors
(Figure 4.6). Many believe that the fusion of these
elements into conservation networks represents bio-
diversity's best chance for long-term survival in our
fragmented landscape (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Peck
1998, Hoctor 2003, Groom et al. 2006). As Peck (1998)
puts it, "[t]he concept of reserve networks developed
from the realization that isolated reserves are not suf-
ficient to preserve biodiversity" (page 105). Conservation
networks (a.k.a. reserve networks or ecological networks)
are simply groups of habitat patches, often buffered,
which are functionally linked by corridors (Peck 1998).
In this way, they are a summation of the principles and
elements examined thus far. Functionally joined, the
components of a reserve network behave as a synergistic

Core Reserves
Haraeedj '-pecificallyfor
-ildidhe species diversity.

'farm or Ranch Land

Buffer Zone
1H.n;qgdfer doonath dge
spFoies and I /
htensity r.-.reilon / -
Linking Corridor -
Managed ashabiat am
for species igr.t. or,


If *' /

Figure 4.6: Basic ecological network components. (Randolph 2004)

unit in which, not surprisingly, "the whole is greater than
the sum of its parts" (Noss 1992, page 17). What follows
is brief discussion of desirable network attributes, along
with a conservation-network case study.

Desirable Conservation-Network Characteristics*
The basic characteristics of optimal conservation net-
works parallel those suggested for individual reserves and
corridors: Networks should include large core reserves
and wide corridors, and these should be buffered by
tracts of mostly-natural land where humans engage in
only low-impact activities (Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
Beyond the guidelines already offered for individual
reserves and for connectivity, recommendations for suc-
cessful conservation networks include the following:

--Core reserves located close to one another are
preferable to widely scattered reserves (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994). This principle is based on
island biogeographic theory (see Chapter 3), which
postulates that islands further from species sources
will enjoy less species richness than those more
proximate (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). Further-
more, even wide-ranging species will disperse only
so far (Hoctor 2003).
--Ideally, a dendriticc network of corridors contain-
ing many nodes of small and medium-sized forest
islands" should link individual habitat cores (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994, page 145). Thus, core
reserves linked merely by a single straight-line cor-
ridor form a sub-optimal network.
--Similarly, Forman (1995) argues that a high degree
of circuitry is desirable in networks. Circuitry refers
to the degree of reticulation (i.e., the number of
loops) present in a system. According to Forman
(1995), these loops offer alternative routes for trav-
eling animals who wish to avoid predators, distur-
bances, and other risky situations.
--Networks should include areas of high ecological
value and should represent as many native ecosys-
tems and species as possible (Noss and Cooperrider
1994). The identification of these must-protect
areas will be discussed in Chapter 5.

Conservation networks therefore emphasize
integration, whereby a number of carefully arranged
components together provide biodiversity with options
unavailable in individual reserves. The need for networks
is highlighted by the shortcomings of current reserves,
particularly with regard to wide-ranging species, who
need more land than is generally available in discrete
blocks to maintain viable populations (Noss and Cooper-




Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

rider 1994, Carr et al. 2002, Hoctor 2003, Groom et al.
Nonetheless, conservation networks face
criticism, including claims that they may only provide
connectivity for a handful of species and that few, if any,
such networks have been validated in practice (Boitani
et al. 2007). These critiques are evidently outweighed
by a preponderance of evidence in favor of networks.
Hoctor writes, "all research on biodiversity conservation
indicates the same thing: large, functionally integrated
reserve networks are required to effectively conserve
biodiversity" (2003, page 266). Consequently, detailed
conservation-network proposals have been developed for
several states and for portions of northern Europe (Cook
and van Lier 1994, Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Hoctor et
al. 2000, Hoctor et al. 2008).

A Conservation-Network Case Study: The Florida Ecologi-
cal Network
The various conservation and conservation-network prin-
ciples find application in projects like the Florida Ecologi-
cal Network (FEN), first proposed by Noss and Harris in
the 1980s (Noss 1987) and later developed in detail by
Hoctor and colleagues (Hoctor et al. 2000, Hoctor 2003).
The FEN project's conservation objectives correspond
closely with those put forth herein, namely to represent
all ecosystem types, to maintain viable populations of all
native species, and to maintain ecological and evolution-
ary processes. The following list of FEN goals is taken
directly from Hoctor (2003):

--Conservation of critical elements of Florida's native
ecosystems and landscapes.

--Restoration and maintenance of essential connec-
tivity among diverse native ecological systems and
--Facilitation of the ability of these ecosystems and
landscapes to function as dynamic systems.
--Maintenance of the evolutionary potential of the
biota of these ecosystems and landscapes to adapt
to future environmental changes.

In pursuit of these goals, Hoctor et al. proceeded
to identify potential network features using a GIS-based
process that sought to systematically and defensibly
locate both areas of ecological significance and suitable
linkages between them (Hoctor et al. 2000). A similar
process will be detailed in Chapter 5; for now, suffice it
to say that the FEN effort focused on preserving "impor-
tant habitats for native species, significant natural com-
munities, wetlands, roadless areas, floodplains, and high
quality aquatic ecosystems...and the landscape linkages
necessary to protect a functional statewide network"
(Carr et al. 2002, page 11). The principles discussed thus
far are readily evident in the FEN prototype map (Fig-
ure 4.7), with buffers and linkages complementing core
reserves. Although the final FEN plan (Figure 4.8) does
not distinguish between buffer areas and core reserves,
its numerous habitat cores joined by carefully located
corridors still resemble the network schematic shown in
Figure 4.6.
In terms of FEN methodology, extent was
controlled by a 2,000 hectare minimum size for these
core reserves, this area being judged sufficiently large for
important species and natural processes (Hoctor et al.
2000). Context was addressed by excluding from consid-
eration areas subject to negative edge effects, specifically
those within 180 meters of urban land uses (Hoctor et al.
2000). Connectivity was provided through the identifica-
tion of suitable corridors between core reserves, many of
which turned out to be riparian (Hoctor et al. 2000). The
FEN thus manifests many of the principles and guidelines
discussed in Chapters 2 and 3, and provides a strategic
guide for conservation in the state.

,-'::,P F- Ei i F -
_. BUFF'I:F .,:-rlE-
AND :i F iiii:l..:

Figure 4.7: Florida I.:.:.I.:- I: I I l r i*..:rl
prototype. (Noss anid Cooperrder 1994)



Chapter 4: Conservation Principles

S Egln Air
Force Base

A& -Apalachicola
Nabonal Fore







80 0 80 160 KM

Figure 4.8: Proposed Florida Ecological Network. (Hoctor 2003)






5TrI Selecting Cv Areas

Selecting sites that warrant the highest degree of protection is the most vital task in the entire
land protection process...
--Noss AND COOPERRIDER (1994), Saving Nature's Legacy, page 100

Figure 5.1: Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), a threatened species. (

Chapter 4 introduced a few of the most important
reserve-design principles, including guidelines for sizing,
buffering, and linking biotic reserves. Chapter 5 turns to
the critical task of identifying lands most worthy of con-
servation efforts. Faced with ongoing habitat fragmenta-
tion--and equipped with limited time and money--conser-
vationists must prioritize; they must protect and acquire
land strategically so as to quickly preserve biodiversity's
most essential, most threatened domains (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, Groom et al. 2006). Each preservation
or acquisition must therefore be of maximum value to
nature, a requirement that calls for detailed, defensible
analysis and mapping of biotic resources.
This identification process, also known as the
"ecological inventory", has emerged as a science, albeit
one still in its early stages of development (Hoctor
2003, Groom et al. 2006). Like many expanding sci-
ences, it involves competing theories and approaches
(Lindenmayer and Fischer 2006). This chapter will touch
briefly on these alternative approaches (which are often
complimentary) and will attempt to draw from them, in
the style of previous chapters, a workable list of recom-
mendations for the identification of naturally vital places.

Before going further, however, I should explain why tra-
ditional, non-scientific conservation efforts have proved

Traditional Conservation Shortcomings
As suggested in Chapter 4, traditional criteria for locating
conservation areas in the U.S. (and beyond) have proved
inadequate for the preservation of biodiversity primarily
because they have not emphasized biotic needs. State
and national parks and other managed lands exist where
they do mainly for aesthetic, recreational, or historic
reasons (Forman 1995). In addition, many economically
worthless lands have been set aside for conservation
(Groom et al. 2006). Yellowstone National Park, with its
unique geologic features, epitomizes scenic conservation,
while waterlogged Everglades National Park represents
the preservation of economically marginal areas.
Our current conservation portfolio is therefore
biased toward scenic and marginal lands, and fails to
protect a representative mix of biotic elements (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994, Groom et al. 2006). Areas of low
economic value, including infertile and steep lands, are
overrepresented, while some habitat types--especially

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas

those associated with valuable human enterprise (e.g.,
tall-grass prairie [U.S. National Park Service n.d.a.])--are
under-protected (Groom et al. 2006). As a result, the
most threatened ecosystems and species--those in the
path of human activities--are often poorly protected in
the current conservation scheme (Groom et al. 2006).
Federally funded Gap Analyses, which identify
species and communities inadequately represented in
conservation areas, highlight these shortcomings. One
such analysis in Hawaii revealed an "almost complete
lack of overlap" between conservation areas and the
habitat of endangered birds (Groom et al. 2006, page
518) (Figure 5.2). In Idaho, Gap Analysis showed that
mountainous habitats were well represented in conserva-
tion areas, but that "habitat types found on lands most
appealing for human settlement" were not (Carr et al.
2002, page 6). Similarly, California's Gap Analysis showed
that desert-scrub, subalpine, and alpine habitats were
well represented, while more economically valuable eco-
systems, such as prairie grasslands and hardwood forests,
were inadequately protected (Davis et al. 1998). Essen-

Figure 5.2: Gap Analysis r
showing the poor correla
habitat (gray areas) and c
(solid-line polygons). (Gro

tially, then, Gap Analyses have borne out that traditional
conservation techniques protect an unrepresentative mix
of species and communities.
Nor do the extents of our parks and conserva-
tion areas correlate well with the natural ranges of large
vertebrates (Forman 1995). Bison, for example, regularly
venture out of Yellowstone Park (and are often killed by
neighboring ranchers) (U.S. National Park Service n.d.b.),
while Florida panther routinely foray northward onto
private lands from their base in Everglades National Park
and Big Cypress National Preserve (Hoctor 2003). Even
if park boundaries did correspond more closely with the
ecologically determined territories of wide-ranging spe-
cies, our existing parks and reserves are simply not large
enough or sufficiently connected to sustain viable popula-
tions of these and other native species (Noss and Cooper-
rider 1994). In sum, traditional conservation criteria have
led to the selection of "inefficient and unrepresentative"
reserve areas, at least with regard to biodiversity (Groom
et al. 2006, page 521).

Multiple Contemporary Approaches
More effective methods for identify-
ing potential conservation lands have
evolved over the past few decades.
,serves These contemporary approaches share
rea boundaries a reliance on geographic information
systems (hereafter GIS) to systemati-
cally and defensibly assimilate various
spatially referenced datasets--such as
land cover, habitat quality, and hydro-
logic features--into graphic outputs
(maps) which may be used to guide
Hilo conservation efforts (Peck 1998, Hoctor
2003, Randolph 2004). Present-day
approaches diverge, however, on the
issue of whether ecological invento-
ries should emphasize the habitats of
individual species (i.e., species-based
approaches), the representation of
Natural communities (community-
based approaches), or the overall pat-
tern of landscape elements (landscape-
based approaches) (Steinitz et al. 1996,
Hoctor 2003, Lindenmayer and Fischer
2006). In other words, opinions differ
as to whether ecological inventories
should apply (1.) a "fine filter"--one
results from Hawaii that combs an area land for valuable
tion between finch habitat on a species-by-species basis;
conservation lands
om etal. 2006) (2.) a "coarse filter"--which seeks to

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas

identify all (or most) natural community types; or (3.) a
patch-matrix-corridor method--one that focuses on pre-
serving a suitable mix of these key landscape elements.
As will be shown, each approach has its pros and cons,
and an optimal strategy for identifying conservation areas
may draw tactics from all three (Hoctor 2003). What
follows is a very brief introduction to the species-, com-
munity-, and landscape-based approaches to identifying
areas that require protection.

Species-Based Approaches
Like the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, species-
based approaches to selecting conservation areas seek
to identify and protect habitat critical to the survival of
individual species (Noss and Cooperrider 1994). Often
targeting rare, endemic (found in only one area), or
wide-ranging organisms, the species approach involves
understanding the habitat needs of a particular species
and then mapping (and protecting) areas that satisfy
those criteria (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Groom et al.
2006) (Figure 5.3). The Florida Natural Areas Inventory
(FNAI), for example, uses rare-species-habitat maps to
help guide the Florida Forever program, a publicly funded
initiative that acquires essential conservation lands in the
state (FNAI n.d.).
Species-based approaches are valuable in that
their "fine-filters" identify naturally critical areas that may
be passed over by other "coarser" inventory methods
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994). Their principal disadvan-
tage is quite simply the impracticality of understanding
the habitat needs of all species in a region (some of
which may have yet to be named or described) and locat-
ing habitat suitable for each organism (Lindenmayer and
Fischer 2006).

Community-Based Approaches
Also known as "coarse-filter" approaches, community-
based methods for selecting conservation areas empha-
size representation, or the preservation of at least some
sample of all natural communities or ecosystems (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994). With the identification and pres-
ervation of natural communities, the thinking goes, entire
suites of species associated with these ecosystems will
be preserved (Hoctor 2003). In quantifiable terms, it has
been estimated that coarse-filter approaches can protect
85-90% of species (Noss and Cooperrider 1994).
Community-based methodology is founded in
an examination of vegetation types, often using aerial
or satellite imagery, this being the most straightforward
means of identifying and mapping ecosystems (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994). To cite another example from FNAI,
that agency has used aerial photography to determine
that scrub, sandhill, and pine flatwoods communi-
ties (among others) are currently underrepresented in
Florida's conservation portfolio (FNAI 2009a) (Figure 5.4).
As mentioned, Gap Analyses often proceed along similar
lines, comparing an inventory of an area's habitat types
(communities) with a catalogue of those protected by its
conservation lands.
Feasibility is the central advantage of coarse-
filter approaches in that an inventory of several dozen or
even several hundred community types is far more work-
able than a jumble of datasets representing thousands
or millions of individual species (Noss and Cooperrider
1994). However, as indicated, some species, especially
rare, endemic, and wide-ranging ones, will be overlooked
by the coarse-filter approach (Noss and Cooperrider
1994). In addition, some natural communities or eco-
types may be difficult to identify with remotely sensed

-- __ __._ _
I .

'/ T


* A

'-' ; 'I. LANDS

"' ,' '-






Figure 5.3: A species-based approach: Scrub jay habitat appears in green
on this map of northern Highlands County. (Data: GeoPlan)

i .. .. .. .

Figure 5.4: A community-based approach: Remaining dry prairie
(orange), sandhill (green), and scrub (purple) are shown in northern
Highlands County. (Data: FNAI)

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas

data (Hoctor, personal communication).

Landscape-Based Approaches
Others believe that effective biotic conservation depends
on the identification and protection of key landscape
elements and patterns (Forman 1995). According to this
landscape-ecology-allied perspective, characteristics of
the landscape mosaic--composed of patches, corridors,
and the matrix--affect many species in predictable ways
(Forman 1995; see Chapter 3). As a result, landscape-
based theorists believe the preservation of strategic
mosaic components will enhance species richness and
population viability, facilitate dispersal, and promote
natural processes (Forman 1995, Lindenmayer and Fis-
cher 2006, Hoctor, personal communication).
Which landscape elements are deemed most
strategic? Those providing inter-patch connectivity (i.e.,
corridors)--especially through a hostile matrix--are most
critical for protection, as are large patches and what For-
man calls "convergence points", which are places where
three or more habitat types come together (Forman
1995, Lindenmayer and Fischer 2006). In one example
of a landscape-based conservation approach, Hoctor
(2003) identified potential linkages between the various
black bear sub-populations in Florida, concluding that
enhanced landscape connectivity would promote the
long-term viability of black bears and many other species
(Figure 5.5).
Like community-based analyses, landscape-
based approaches can effectively guide conservation
efforts without bogging down in investigations of every
species in an area of concern (Forman 1995, Hoctor
2003). On the other hand, landscape-based approaches


---) -1ii I .
Highlands sn
Population .

Big Cypress
Bear roadkills I ii
/V Major roads .
I County boundaries '
m Open water
Habitat and Landscape Linkages I
S Potential bear habitat (50% or greater probability)
Landscape linkages (forested or herbaceous natural) Lae Okeechobee
Landscape linkages (rangeland or semr -natural)
Landscape linkages (agricultural)
0 50 100 150 200 Kilometers
Figure 5.5: A landscape-based approach; strategic black bear habitat
patches and linkages are shown in south central Florida. (Hoctor 2003)

may require supplemental analyses (a finer filter) to
ensure the protection of all species (Hoctor et al. 2000,
Hoctor 2003).

A Mini-Synthesis of Contemporary Approaches*
As has been suggested, these approaches potentially
complement one another (Hoctor 2003, Lindenmayer
and Fischer 2006, Groom et al. 2006). In fact, a regional
conservation analysis involving all three approaches may
represent the ideal (Kiester et al. 1996). This concept
finds practical application in the Ecoregional Planning (or
Ecoregional Assessment) process, a fusion of species-,
community-, and landscape-based approaches devel-
oped by The Nature Conservancy, a global non-profit that
identifies and protects areas of high biotic significance
(Hoctor 2003, The Nature Conservancy 2006). Although
Ecoregional Assessments may combine the best of
all worlds, they require time, manpower, and funding
unavailable for many ecological inventories, including
Heartland 2060's. As a result, citing various sources, I
offer a simplified and hopefully workable distillation of
contemporary approaches to the conservation inventory.
These principles, arranged from coarse filter to fine filter,
form a theoretical basis for the inventory described in
Chapter 8.
In general, conservation inventories should seek
to identify the following areas for protection:

--Representative samples of all natural communi-
ties / habitat types (Noss and Cooperrider 1994,
Peck 1998, Hoctor 2003, The Nature Conservancy,
2006): This vegetation-based coarse-filter approach
will protect most species and ecosystems in a single
stroke (Noss and Cooperrider 1994), making it "[o]ne
of the most important steps within a reserve design
process" (Hoctor 2003, page 49). Identifying com-
munities currently underrepresented in conservation
portfolios, exemplified by Gap Analysis and FNAI's
natural communities inventory, is of special impor-
tance (Hoctor 2003).
--Important water bodies and wetlands (Noss and
Cooperrider, Hoctor et al. 2000, Carr et al. 2002,
Randolph 2004): Conservation efforts should not be
limited to terrestrial systems (Noss and Cooperrider
v1994). The loss and degradation of wetlands and
water bodies worldwide is well-publicized (particu-
larly in Florida; see C. Barnett 2007), and several of
the most endangered plant and animal groups in the
United States are aquatic (Groom et al. 2006) (Figure
5.6). High priority aquatic areas include functional

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas



Iiii ii

Figure 5.6: A high proportion of several aquatic taxa (underlined) are threatened by extinc-
tion in the United States. (Groom et al. 2006)


Figure 5.7: Endemic plant taxa in the U.S. by state. Notice that Florida ranks third behind
California and Hawaii. (Noss and Cooperrider 1994)

wetlands', springs, estuaries, and water
bodies harboring rare fish (FNAI 2009a).
--Roadless areas (Noss and Cooperrider
1994, Carr et al. 2002, Hoctor 2003): Some-
what insulated from human interference,
areas of low road density are preferred by
many large vertebrates, including black
bears, wolves (Hoctor 2003), and elk (For-
man 1995). Furthermore, roads diminish
landscape connectivity (see Chapter 4) and
correlate directly with animal mortality
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994). For these
reasons, roadless areas are a high priority
for conservation.
--Landscape linkages (Noss and Cooper-
rider 1994, Forman 1995, Dramstad et al.
1996, Peck 1998, Hoctor et al. 2000, Carr et
al. 2002, Hoctor 2003, Groom et al. 2006):
Given the many benefits of landscape con-
nectivity (see Chapter 4), it should come
as no surprise that the identification and
preservation of linkages between habitat
patches is an essential conservation step.
Datasets representing key landscape link-
ages are included in the ecological inventory
described in Chapter 8.
--Areas of high species richness, also
referred to as biodiversity hotspots (Noss
and Cooperrider 1994, Peck 1998, Carr et
al. 2002, Wilson 2002, Groom et al. 2006):
In simple terms, species richness can be
thought of as the number of species per
1,000 individuals in an ecosystem (Randolph
2004). Examples of species-rich ecosys-
tems include temperate old-growth forests
(Noss and Cooperrider 1994), tropical rain
forests (The Nature Conservancy 2006), and
estuaries (U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency n.d.b). Such areas yield many spe-
cies protected per acre preserved (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994).
--Areas of endemism (Noss and Cooperrider
1994, Peck 1998, Groom et al. 2006, The
Nature Conservancy 2006): Endemic species
occupy limited ranges, from "single outcrops
to entire physiographic regions" (Noss and
Cooperrider 1994, page 101) (Figure 5.7).
Therefore, when the habitat of endemic spe-
cies is fragmented (or destroyed), these spe-

1 I.e., "wetlands existing in a natural state"
(FNAI 2009a, page 68)

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas

cies, having no fall-back range or population source,
will probably vanish altogether (Noss and Cooper-
rider 1994). Isolated or once-isolated regions, such
as the Heartland Region's Lake Wales Ridge--at one
time a string of islands--often feature high levels of
endemism (Hoctor 2003).
--Habitat supporting rare and endangered species
(Harris 1984, Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Peck
1998, Groom et al. 2006): As recognized by the
Endangered Species Act, the habitat of beleaguered
species must be preserved if they are to stand any
chance of recovery. In many cases--for example, the
critically endangered panther's--further habitat loss
may result in extinction for rare and endangered
organisms (US EPA 2009). Hence the essential nature
of identifying and protecting these areas, usually on
a species-by-species basis.

These guidelines for identifying priority con-
servation areas are not meant to be comprehensive.2
Instead, they introduce the ecological inventory's most
fundamental criteria and hopefully simplify the rather
technical details of the various contemporary approach-
es. In cases where time and funding for conservation
analysis are limited, as was the case with the Heartland
2060 ecological inventory, attention to these essential
principles should preserve the bulk of biotic elements.
It should also be recognized that reserve design
is an iterative process, that portfolio flaws identified
down the road can in many cases be remedied (Hoctor
2003). More importantly, conservationists must recog-
nize that, while imperfect reserve selection is pardon-
able, inaction is not. As indicated in Chapter 2, habitat
fragmentation and biotic impoverishment are proceeding
at such a rate that even imperfectly conceived conserva-
tion efforts are of value. Hoctor (2003) summarizes this
"do the best with what you've got and soon" concept as

Reserve designers will never have all of the
information they would like, and yet there is a
need to make decisions now as habitat loss and
fragmentation accelerate. There are simply too
many species and too much ecological complex-
ity for us to have all the answers. Therefore we
are forced to make decisions based on the best
available information. (page 267)

2 For a more detailed discussion of the selection of
conservation areas, see Noss and Cooperrider 1994 or
Hoctor 2003.

Conservation Lands as Green Infrastructure
Returning to a principal sub-theme of this paper, I should
point out that the protection of areas meeting the above
criteria offers direct benefits to humans. As seen in
Chapter 2, biodiversity itself provides a range of valu-
able services to humankind, including climate regulation,
food production, and waste treatment. It follows that
preserving areas essential to biotic systems protects
these irreplaceable functions. But the conservation of
lands and waters of special value to living things yields
additional benefits, perhaps the most important of which
are the protection of ground and surface water. Pre-
serving roadless (i.e., undeveloped) areas, for instance,
often protects locales which are most critical to aquifer
recharge (C. Barnett 2007), while preserving wetlands
and riparian corridors protects surface water quality (U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency 2001, Carr et al. 2002,
Randolph 2004). In one example of the recognition of
wetlands' value for flora, fauna, and people, the $10 bil-
lion federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
was conceived as both an eco-centric effort and an urban
water supply measure (C. Barnett 2007). Thus the pro-
tection of Florida's (and the world's) increasingly limited
freshwater supplies and its biotic resources can in many
cases proceed hand-in-hand.
Visual, recreational, and what might be termed
psycho-spiritual resources are also protected when areas
of high biological significance are preserved (Kaplan and
Kaplan 1989, Benedict and McMahon 2006). By virtue of
their landforms, water bodies, and non-human inhabit-
ants, pristine natural areas--a term largely interchange-
able with biologically significant areas--please the eye
and recharge the mind (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989). For
the business-oriented, the appeal of such places can be
translated into tourist dollars (Benedict and McMahon
2006). Witness for example the proliferation of eco-
tourism in reserve-filled, biota-rich Costa Rica and New
Zealand (Figure 5.7).
Furthermore, the conservation of areas criti-
cal to biodiversity is not inconsistent with agriculture.
Hoctor (2003) states that low-intensity agricultural lands,
including unimproved pasture and pine plantations, can
provide habitat and linkages for rare and other species,
and can serve as valuable buffers between developed
areas and core reserves. (See also Harris 1984.) While
the interests of agriculture and biota do not always align,
farms and other working landscapes--themselves often
endangered by development--can fit into a conservation
Recognition of the wide range of ecosystem
services and other anthropocentric benefits provided by

Chapter 5: Selecting Conservation Areas

Figure 5.7: Brochure for an international eco-tourism agency. (www.

conservation lands has given rise to the term "green in-
frastructure", which in essence refers to natural and semi-
natural lands functioning in ways that benefit people
(Weber 2003, Randolph 2004, Benedict and McMahon
2006). Considered by some to be as important for people
as roads and utility lines (Randolph 2004), green infra-
structure networks have been proposed for Georgia (Ran-
dolph 2004), Florida (Benedict and Drohan 2003), Mary-
land (Weber 2003), and EPA Region Four (the southeast)
(Carr et al. 2002). While green infrastructure is not the
primary focus of this paper, the point to be made here is
that biodiversity-focused conservation efforts mesh nicely
with attempts to preserve ecosystem services and other
natural functions that enhance our quality of life (Carr
et al. 2002, Hoctor 2003, Weber 2003, Randolph 2004,
Groom et al. 2006). Conservation's multiple benefits
should thus be emphasized to policy makers and taxpay-
ers as potentially expensive land-preservation proposals
are brought forth.


Are there alternatives that should be considered that can accommodate the forecasted population growth
and also maintain the region's high biodiversity and other environmental qualities?
--STEINITZ ET AL. (1996), Biodiversity and Landscape Planning: Alternative
Futures for the Region of Camp Pendleton, California, page 88

Figure 6.1: Three-D model representing an alternative development pattern for metropolitan Orlando. (Barnett et al. 2005)

As stated initially, it increasingly appears that conserva-
tion efforts must be integrated with local and regional
development planning (Groom et al. 2006, Miller et al.
2008). There is simply insufficient conservation fund-
ing to protect/acquire all or even a safe proportion of
the biologically sensitive areas specified in Chapter 5.
Furthermore, we ourselves are part of life's diversity, and
in many parts of the world, including Florida's Heartland,
our requirements--such as housing, food, and employ-
ment--are expanding. Unfortunately we have not shown
much tendency to put non-human needs on an equal
footing with our own, particularly where land use is con-
cerned (see Chapter 2). As a result, conservationists are
recognizing that the protection and acquisition of land for
conservation purposes should proceed in tandem with
the allocation of land for future human needs (Hoctor
2003, Groom et al. 2006, Kautz et al. 2006, Miller et al.
2008). This two-pronged approach aims to put people in
those areas best suited to our needs while preserving for
nature those places best able to meet its requirements.
The emerging trend towards integrating conser-

vation and development planning calls for methods and
precedents for assessing land-use suitabilities and for al-
locating future development in biodiversity- and people-
friendly ways. These methods and precedents form the
subject matter of this chapter, which reviews one ap-
proach to modeling land-use suitability and conflict and
then examines two efforts to devise adaptive land-use
patterns for high-growth regions.

The Land-Use Conflict Identification Strategy, or LUCIS,
has been developed by Carr and Zwick, both faculty
members here at the University of Florida's School of
Landscape Architecture and Planning (see Carr and Zwick
2007). Used in Chapter 10 as part of this paper's analysis
of potential land-use conflict in the Heartland Region,
the LUCIS approach serves two primary purposes in this
study: First, it identifies areas valuable for conservation
that may soon succumb to development, potentially
allowing conservationists to purchase or protect these
areas before they are modified. As Hoctor puts it, "pri-

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

oritization is essential to identify the lands that should be
targeted for conservation action first" (2003, page 255).
LUCIS achieves this sort of prioritization by highlighting
areas of high conservation value that will likely be devel-
oped in the near future. Second, the maps generated
by LUCIS will serve as a foundation for the alternative
regional futures proposed in Chapter 11. The LUCIS maps
will identify areas best-suited for development and con-
servation, and, where potential conflict exists, they will
help resolve it using relatively objective criteria. What
follows is a very brief overview of the LUCIS approach
based on an environmental planning/design course
taught by Carr and Zwick at the University of Florida, and
on their 2007 book Smart Land-Use Analysis: The LUCIS
Model (ESRI). The abbreviated LUCIS approach used
in Chapter 10 will be accompanied by a more detailed
explanation of the necessary GIS operations.
Developing "statements of intent" and support-
ing goals are the first steps in the LUCIS process. State-
ments of intent express in strategic terms the aim of
identifying lands most suitable for particular uses. For
example, a statement of intent might read, "identify
lands most suitable for agricultural uses." Goals are more
specific, breaking the very general statements of intent
down into more manageable pieces. Thus the sample
statement of intent might include goals like identify-
ing lands well suited for row crops, citrus groves, and
livestock. Once intentions and goals are established,
relevant datasets, usually in the form of shapefiles or
rasters, are gathered; these may be drawn from geo-
physical, biological, demographic, economic, political, cul-
tural, or infrastructure-related disciplines. For instance,
identifying lands best suited for agriculture might require
shapefiles representing soil types, slope, natural land
cover, highways, etc.
Next, land-use suitabilities are determined, a
process that usually involves stakeholder input. In the ag-
ricultural-suitability example, the LUCIS facilitator would
convene those with a stake in local agriculture, such as
farmers, citrus growers, and ranchers, and these partici-
pants would identify land characteristics most important
to their respective positions. Farmers, for example, might
cite soil type, slope, and proximity to highways as the key
determinants of a plot's value (if lacking, datasets repre-
senting each would need to be gathered). This input is
used to develop ranked lists of essential criteria for each
goal-that is, stakeholder-defined lists of what makes
land suitable for their particular use. Thus, in the simpli-
fied example, the row-crop-suitability list might read: soil
type (.5), slope (.3), and proximity to highways (.2), where
soil type is weighted 50%, slope 30%, and proximity to

highways 20% (in determining an area's value as crop-
Once these weighted (ranked) lists have been
established, a map is created for each criterion, identify-
ing choice, mediocre, and poor areas (along a gradient)
in terms of that characteristic-for example, the best and
worst (and everything in between) soils for crops. These
individual maps, which are grids composed of many small
cells-usually ten or thirty meters square-are called
single utility assignments (SUAs). After an SUA has been
created for each criterion, these maps are aggregated us-
ing the weights established by the stakeholders. As SUAs
are stacked one upon another, so are individual cells,
allowing the GIS to calculate a weighted sum for each cell
in the output grid, which is called a multiple utility assign-
ment, or MUA. In the full LUCIS approach, this process
would be repeated to establish key criteria, SUAs, and
MUAs for urban development suitability and conserva-
tion suitability.

Figure 6.2: MUAs representing various agricultural goals in north central
Florida. Greens indicate high suitability, yellows moderate, and reds low.
(Carr and Zwick 2007)
At this point the researcher would have a suit-
ability grid in hand for each goal (e.g., grids showing
lands most suitable for row crops, citrus, and ranching)
(Figure 6.2). LUCIS next prescribes that s/he aggregate
these suitabilities. In this process, either the stakehold-
ers convened for the suitability analysis or a new group
must evaluate the relative importance of the sub-goals.
Continuing the earlier example, the agricultural stake-
holder group might decide that row crops are more
important than citrus production, and that citrus is more
important than ranching. Essentially, then, this step asks

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

participants to assess the relative importance of the goal
MUAs as they are combined to create an output grid for
the entire statement of intent. Determining the rela-
tive importance of several sub-goals can be an intricate
process; Carr and Zwick recommend an approach called
pair-wise comparison, which involves the use of special
software (see Chapter 9 of Carr and Zwick 2007).
Once the stakeholders have assigned weights
to the various goals, the MUAs are combined according
to these specifications, generating what is referred to as
a preference grid (Figure 6.3). In the agricultural ex-
ample, the preference grid would be simply a weighted-
sum combination of the row crop, citrus, and ranching
suitability grids. This process is repeated for the urban
development and conservation statements of intent.

Figure 6.3: Agricultural preference grid obtained by combining the MUAs
at in Figure 6.2 according to a stakeholder-specified formula. North to
south, the urban areas are Gainesville and Ocala. (Carr and Zwick 2007)

The researcher would now have three prefer-
ence grids for the study area--agriculture, urban devel-
opment, and conservation--which represent land-use
preference in terms of three separate criteria sets (the
three goals). These three grids should of course be com-
pared to identify areas considered valuable by more than
one criteria set--for example, by both agriculture and
development. The GIS procedures required for this step
are outlined in Appendix D; for now, suffice it to say that
areas identified as valuable (high preference) by more
than criteria set are prone to land-use conflict.'

1 For those confused by the methodology of LUCIS, don't
worry. The essential point to be taken from this discus-

In this way LUCIS is used to identify areas pre-
ferred (and suitable) for the three principal land uses,
urban development, agriculture, and conservation, and
it highlights those places where these land uses are likely
to conflict in the coming years. This result can serve as
a foundation for the development of efficient, conflict-
minimizing alternative futures for the study area.

Alternative Futures
This section describes two case studies in modeling
alternative regional futures. The first, centered in the
high-growth region between Los Angeles and San Diego,
is a biodiversity-focused assessment of both a default
development course and a series of alternatives based on
modified land-use policies. The second, involving metro-
politan Orlando, also considers biodiversity in devising an
alternative future for that region, but bases its alterna-
tive proposal on anthropocentric issues as well. These
case studies form a precedent for the alternative futures
analysis undertaken in Chapter 11 of this paper.

Biodiversity and Landscape Planning: Alternative Futures
for the Region of Camp Pendleton, California
Led by Carl Steinitz of Harvard's Graduate School of
Design and prepared for the federal government, the
1995-1996 Camp Pendleton study explored "how urban
growth and change in the rapidly developing region
between San Diego and Los Angeles might influence the
biodiversity of the area" (Steinitz et al. 1996, abstract)
(Figure 6.4). Like this effort, the Camp Pendleton study
examined a high-growth region and operated under the
hypothesis that habitat loss and fragmentation caused
by development represent major threats to biodiversity.
The Camp Pendleton study also parallels this effort in that
it used multiple parameters (a landscape pattern model,
several single-species models, and a species-richness
model) to map areas of high biotic significance within
the region, and then assessed the impacts of various
land-use programs on these spatial representations of
biodiversity. The Camp Pendleton study differs from this
paper, however, by virtue of its indefinite time horizon,
its alternative future criteria, and its in-depth analysis of
the various futures' impacts on soils, hydrology, fire, and
visual resources.
Steinitz et al. began their process by modeling
the Pendleton region's default development course, a
future based on existing policies, plans, and trends. This
model, termed Plans Build-Out, did not extend to a finite

sion is that LUCIS identifies lands likely to be sought after
by more than one type of land use (e.g., conservation
and development).

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

Figure 6.4: Context map for the Camp Pendleton alternative futures
study. Rectangle indicates study area. (Steinitz et al. 1996)

date, as does my model of the Heartland Region's default
future (Chapter 11). Instead, the Plans Build-Out model
was run until it had allocated development to all areas
made available by existing policies and conditions. It
showed that more than 1.2 million acres of natural land
cover would likely be altered by the default development
course (in a 2.56 million acre region), mostly to accom-
modate rural residential development (Figure 6.5).
The effects of Plans Build-Out were then evalu-
ated in terms of several specific criteria: impacts on soils,
hydrology, fire regimes, vegetation, biodiversity, and
visual resources. According to the model, the default de-
velopment course would perform poorly by all measures.
Productive soils would be lost, floods more frequent, fire

risk more severe, natural vegetation diminished, biodiver-
sity reduced, and visual resources degraded.
Looking more closely at biodiversity, Steinitz et
al. found that Plans Build-Out would convert a natural
matrix with urban patches into an urban matrix with nat-
ural patches; that many individual species-including the
California cougar (Puma concolor californicus)-would ex-
perience significant habitat loss; and that overall species
richness would suffer. As Steinitz et al. put it, "almost all
measures of environmental change, including the several
assessments linked to biodiversity, decline dramatically
between 1990+ [the study's baseline] and Plans Build-
Out" (page 88).
The Steinitz team then posed the obvious ques-
tion: "[C]an we do better than the current plans and
their build-out for both humans and other species?"
(page 88). To explore this possibility, they devised both
a series of relatively small-scale interventions (e.g., ripar-
ian habitat around treatment ponds), which will not be
considered here, and a range of alternative futures for
the region as a whole. Each of these five alternatives was
predicated upon a relatively simple assumption involv-
ing land-use policy and then modeled spatially to (1.)
the year 2010 and (2.) build-out. The alternative futures
were as follows:

--Alternative 1 ("Spread"): Assumed the continued
spread of single-family and rural residential
development; it also supposed a disregard for the
existing regional plan.
--Alternative 2 ("Spread with Conservation 2010"):
Assumed the continued spread of single-family
and rural residential development, but introduced a
"major conservation effort" in the year 2010 (about
a twenty-year horizon).

Existing 1990 Plans Build-Out
Figure 6.5: Existing development (as of 1990) and projected trend development (to build-out) in the Camp Pendleton Region. Development is represent-
ed by yellow (residential) along with orange and lavender (commercial). Conditions within Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton remain essentially static.
(Steinitz et al. 1996)

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

Evaluation criteria:
Visual preference, Agricultural productive soils, Runoff curve number, Flood hydrograph, Water discharge, Fire risk, Landscape ecological pattern, Single species
potential, Species richness, Species with 500+ home ranges

On a five point scale (1=worst, 5=best) for each evaluation criterion, the sums of the scores for each scenario were:
1. Plans Build-Out: 18
2. Spread: 14
3. Spread with Conservation 2010: 29
4. Private Conservation: 49
5. Multi-Centers: 31
6. New City: 32
Figure 6.6: Criteria and results for trend development and the five alternative patterns used in the Camp Pendleton study. (White et al. 2003)

--Alternative 3 ("Private Conservation"): Promoted
private conservation by incentivizing large residential
lots near and within areas of biotic importance.
--Alternative 4 ("Multi-Centers"): Used a polycentric
approach, creating a small number of development
centers; also included a greenway/corridor network.
--Alternative 5 ("New City"): Concentrated growth in
a single new city.

Once modeled (legible copies of the mapped
models are unavailable), these alternatives were evalu-
ated by the same criteria used to assess the Plans Build-
Out model (Figure 6.6). In general, the Spread alternative
performed worst--worse even than Plans Build-Out--while
the Private Conservation alternative performed best.
However, the New City alternative best protected species
richness and performed second-best in terms of protect-
ing landscape patterns. Thus, Private Conservation repre-
sents a sensible all-around choice, but if biodiversity is of
paramount importance, the New City option also deserves
Steinitz et al. drew other important conclusions.
They found, for example, that when "the scenarios are car-
ried forward to their build-out, all of the alternatives cause
serious impacts", especially on biodiversity (page 129).
This finding implies a need for more-carefully conceived
growth alternatives--or a critical analysis of human popula-
tion growth's long-term viability in this region. Equally
significant was their conclusion that land-use policies
enacted between 1995 and 2010 would have a far greater
protective effect than those implemented after 2010, by
which point, according to the authors, "it will be too late
to make a difference" (page 129). Clearly, in fast-develop-
ing areas, environmental criteria must quickly become an
integral part of land-use decision-making, lest the balance
be tipped so far that natural systems cannot recover.

Alternative Futures for the Seven County Orlando Region,
Commissioned by the Metropolitan Center for Regional

Studies at the University of Central Florida and completed
in 2005, the Orlando region study was conducted by
Professor Jonathan Barnett's urban design studio at the
University of Pennsylvania (Barnett et al. 2005). Its focus
was the seven-county region just north of--and partially
overlapping with--the Heartland Region; study counties
included Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole,
and Volusia--essentially the Orlando metropolitan area
and its immediate surroundings. (Polk County is also par-
ticipating in the Heartland 2060 process.)
Unlike the Camp Pendleton effort, the Orlando-
area study considered both environmental and anthro-
pocentric issues, including concerns related to transpor-
tation, economic competitiveness, sense-of-place, and
overall quality of life in the region. These human-centered
issues are not the primary focus of this paper. However,
because of the Orlando region's proximity to this paper's
study area, because the Heartland 2060 process has been
partially modeled on Central Florida 2050 (of which the
Penn study is a component), and because human and
natural needs are often best addressed in concert, Bar-
nett's study merits review here.
The Penn class began with an analysis of the
Orlando region's history, environment, economy, demo-
graphics, etc. (For a similar analysis of the Heartland
Region, see Chapter 7). They then modeled the region's
default growth and development pattern to 2050, a (then)
forty-five year horizon by which the seven study counties
would have added 4.2 million people. Similar to Stein-
itz et al.'s Plans Build-Out model, this default scenario,
referred to as the Trend Model, multiplied projected
population increases by existing residential densities and
determined that nearly 1.2 million acres of additional
development would be required by 2050 to accommodate
the region's new residents (the region's total acreage is
about 5.3 million). It assumed that development would
occur in places with easy access to both employment cen-
ters and already-developed areas, that wetlands would be
avoided, and that no new area conservation lands would
be acquired. The Trend Model is mapped and summa-

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

waterbodies 2050 RUNDOWN 2050
3,571,798 developable acres Area Developable
d 3,048,058 2000 regional population Brevard 675,402 390,339
protected 7217549 42,73
lands 2000 7,217,534 2050 regional population Lake 740,599 426,473
Orange 642,122 462,515
249 average household size Osceola 964,015 649,425
developed 2898,608 households Polk 1,287,102 960,475
144 units eracre Seminole 220,743 161,667
developed 2,02,922 deelopedacreolusa 82 644 520 04
areas 2000-2050 Total 5.312.627 3.571,798
Figure 6.7: Barnett et al.'s (2005) trend development model for central Florid
rized in Figure 6.7.
Like Steinitz et al., the Penn team found the de-
fault scenario costly in environmental terms. They calcu-
lated, for example, that the Trend Model consumed some
600,000 acres of the region's "environmentally sensitive"
land (page 42; defined as areas important for connectivity
and aquifer recharge). But unlike Steinitz et al., they did
not limit their estimates to environmental costs. Barnett
et al. also calculated the Trend Model's impact on area
utility, transportation, and school budgets. Not surprising-
ly, the Trend Model proved costly by all measures, requir-
ing approximately $12 billion for highway improvements
and $104 billion for new roads, utilities and schools. The
Penn team speculated that these costs could undermine
the region's economic competitiveness. In more subjec-
tive terms, they decided that trend development "creates
urban spaces that lack unique identities" (page 3). In face
of this and other evidence, Barnett's et al. concluded that
"continuing the current trend of low density, automobile-

309 243

dependent development will seri-
ously strain the seven county Orlando
region's resources" (page 51).
The Trend Model's gloomy
D implications set the stage for an alter-
L native proposal, logically called the
Alternative Model. It first specified the
phased acquisition of about 600,000
acres of additional conservation land in
the region, for, according to the Penn
team, "the only method of effectively
protecting these areas is to purchase
them, either through fee-simple owner-
ship or conservation easements" (page
49). (Notice that this assessment differs
significantly from that of Steinitz et al.,
who suggested that private ownership
could adequately protect natural areas.)
As for prioritization, the Penn team
recommended the acquisitions begin
with those lands subject to immediate
development pressures and those areas
whose preservation would maintain
O essential linkages between existing
conservation areas (Figure 6.8). This
scheme closely resembles acquisition/
161.295 protection proposals made in Chapters
112,43 10-12 of this paper.
437.324 As mentioned, Barnett et al.'s
18,039 Trend Model identified transportation,
155875 quality of life, and economic concerns,
which their Alternative Model also ad-
dressed. The team proposed a series

of light and high-speed rail lines in and around the region,
along which development density would be increased.
They also recommended several regional "nodes" and
"super-nodes", which would become high-density (i.e.,
9-20 dwelling units per acre), mixed-use residential and
employment centers (Figure 6.9). These centers, the team
believed, would foster community, sense of place, and
a variety of housing options. As the region's rail-based
transit system gained favor, the nodes/super-nodes would
become intertwined in synergistic fashion, stimulating the
regional economy. The Alternative model is mapped in
Figure 6.10.
The Penn team also estimated the Alternative
Model's costs, both in terms of land developed and dollars
spent (Table 6.1). These figures compared favorably with
those generated by the Trend Model: In the Alternative
scenario, development would require about 420,000 acres
by 2050 (408,000 of which would be "environmentally

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

- '. "

Super Nodes


Micro Nodes
Light Rail
High Speed Rail


Figure 6.8: Barnett et al.'s (2005) proposed schedule for acquiring con-
servation lands in central Florida.


Figure 6.9: Barnett et al.'s (2005) node-based development diagram for
central Florida.

AiL EPhAriVE MC:,'EL :: i ,.:. .:r, f.:.t I :.:.I

I jrt. ir..: il.:.r. :.:...I l.: I.r ,n in Jn -
LI' "l.:..m r,|"
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T':TAL .-:0. TiI ,. IHE PENI' MOD'EL II h ,

:',' i *Vlt. .i ITH THE AL TEPI&TIV E M:'CIEL .i i, ,

Tab le 6 1: ':.: r..i. r :.:. .:." r :.:.'. n. . i ., 1..I
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el ir rnA i _rr HE l n i1 1

areas 2000
Protected developed
lands 2000 areas 20-2050
Snewlyaquired higher density developed
lands 2000-2050 areas 2000-2050


MODEL 2050

Figure 6.10: Barnett et al.'s (2005) alternative
development model for central Florida.

, ,I

Chapter 6: Land-Use Suitability, Land-Use Conflict, and Alternative Futures

sensitive"--a 33% decrease from Trend consumption).
New road and utility expenditures ("urbanization costs"),
would total $37.8 billion, a 64% savings. All told, despite
its land-acquisition and mass-transit costs, the Alterna-
tive Model was projected to save $26.3 billion and about
743,000 acres over Trend. Barnett et al. summarized its
benefits as follows: "[T]he Alternative Model describes a
superior quality of life and shorter transportation times,
while preserving a large portion of the most environmen-
tally sensitive lands as large, connected open areas" (page

"Concrete Examples"*
Fortunately, then, tools and strategies exist for devising

and modeling efficient, people- and biodiversity-friendly
land-use patterns, even in high-growth regions like the
Heartland. According to Groom et al., these spatially
represented approaches "have the advantage of provid-
ing concrete examples that can influence planners and
motivate actions where words and statistics alone may
not" (page 465). A blend of the methods described in this
chapter will be applied later (Chapters 8 11) to illustrate
land-use suitability, potential land-use conflict, and alter-
native futures for the Heartland Region. First, however,
we should possess at least a foundational knowledge of
the study Region. An introduction to Florida's Heartland is
thus offered in the next chapter.

Little more than a hundred years ago, the Ridge was a wilderness dotted with lakes and streams.
--TRICIA MARTIN (1998), Florida's Ancient Islands: The Lake Wales Ridge, page 9

Fig u re 7 1: (:i.:..: p .: r.: -" I I-fr :'.:.. r.:. ..

metto, Polk County; Highway 27, Lake Wales; Lake
and picnic shelter, Highlands County; Downtown
Sebring; (Center) Citrus grove, Highlands County.

This paper's spatial focus is Florida's "Heartland" Region,
the seven counties participating in the Central Florida
Regional Planning Council's 50-year visioning process.
These counties are DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, High-
lands, Okeechobee, and Polk, a 160-mile-long assemblage
unified by economic, political, social, and environmental
commonalities (Central Florida Regional Planning Council
n.d.) (Figure 7.2). Encompassing some 4.8 million acres
and home to nearly 850,000 people, the Heartland is
a land-locked, primarily rural area, but is nonetheless
experiencing rapid population growth and development.
This chapter provides an overview of the Region, including
brief descriptions of its geography, plants and animals, his-
tory, demographics, economy, and land-use patterns.

Regional Geography and Geomorphology
The defining physical features of the Heartland Region are
the Lake Wales Ridge and the several lakes that dot and

surround it (Figure 7.3). The Ridge itself is a sandy crest
atop a limestone foundation (White 1970). Reaching a
maximum height of 295 feet (peninsular Florida's high-
est point), it extends more than 100 miles from northern
Polk County to southern Highlands County, a remnant
of a much longer ridge that once reached into southern
Georgia (White 1970, Martin 1998). Its width is usually
no more than a few miles, with its southern third or so in-
cluding an axial intraridge valley of about two miles width
(White 1970).
The Lake Wales Ridge and the smaller Lakeland
and Winter Haven Ridges parallel central Florida's Atlantic
coast, an orientation that hints at their origins. All three
are relic beach ridges created two to five million years ago
when sea levels were much higher than today's (White
1970, Martin 1998, Sundquist 2008). These far-reaching
waters unevenly eroded and dissolved a once-uniform
central-peninsula highland, depositing excess sand atop

Chapter 7: The Study Region

SI i T -E
I T F "--L

rl ,1 p [Ji. P



* E LA

I- I I ti


L L L i- I,- ".-t

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W County Boundaries
Urban Area
Arterial Roads

n L I S IMiles A
0 5 10 20 30 40


SE BRl':





\L *'..

p I

pF r

H F Ij i- P '


Figure 7.2: The Study Region. (Data: FGDL)




Chapter 7: The Study Region


W Study Aree
- High: 253

m Low : 1
L I I IMiles N Figure 7.3: Regional Geography. (Data: FGDL)
0 5 10 20 30 40

Chapter 7: The Study Region

those limestone strands best able to resist the sea's
assault (White 1970). When sea levels retreated, these
sand-covered holdouts became the present-day ridges,
large portions of which have remained above sea level
since the Miocene era (ending some 5 million years ago).
Thus while most of the Florida peninsula has been cov-
ered by water for much of the past several million years,
plant and animal life found a haven atop the ridges, con-
tributing to the rich, unique variety of organisms found
there today (see Heartland Flora and Fauna). Aside from
their biodiversity value, the ridges' percolation-friendly
geology make them important aquifer recharge areas
(Sharpe 2005, Martin 1998).

figure /r.: rlsslmmee nlver. kwww.l nIernaoll
The lakes on and around the ridges--there are
at least 40 of .5 square miles or larger--are primarily
sinkhole-based (White 1970, Sharpe 2005). As with other
sinkhole lakes in Florida, these water bodies were formed
by the dissolution of subterranean limestone, which led
to a collapse of surface strata, creating a basin that filled
with rain and groundwater (White 1970). Many of these
sinkhole lakes, including Lakes Jackson and Placid, are
located in the intraridge valley. Southeast of the ridges,
Lake Okeechobee, the Region's largest, originated in
less dramatic fashion. Covering some 675 square miles
but averaging only nine feet in depth, Okeechobee was

formed when an accumulation of organic matter at its
southern end effectively dammed surface water flowing
southward from the Kissimmee River valley (Audubon
of Florida 2006). South of this natural dam, that surface
flow resumes in the form of the Everglades, which touch
Hendry and Glades Counties.
Other important Heartland physical features in-
clude its several rivers and the Green Swamp. Among the
most important rivers are the Peace, flowing southward
through Polk, Hardee, and DeSoto Counties; the Kissim-
mee (Figure 7.4), which connects Lakes Kissimmee and
Okeechobee; and the Caloosahatchee, which flows west
from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. Fisheating
and Arbuckle Creeks are smaller but significant riverine
systems in Highlands and Glades Counties. The Green
Swamp is a 560,000 acre largely hydric natural area which
extends into northern Polk County (from Sumter and Lake
Counties). The Swamp gives rise to several watercourses,
including the Peace River, and provides important habitat
for some 330 species, such as black bear and the threat-
ened Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (SWF-
WMD n.d.).

Heartland Flora and Fauna
Against this physical backdrop evolved a number of rich
natural communities (Figure 7.5) and unique organ-
isms. Atop the ridges, primarily xeric and long isolated
by surrounding seas, sandhill and scrub communities
predominate (or did until recently) (Martin 1998, Sun-
dquist 2008). Sandhill areas (Figure 7.6) feature open
pinelands-generally longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)-
whose translucent canopies allow grasses and small
shrubs, including wiregrass (Aristidastricta) and gopher
apple (Licania michauxii), to thrive on the forest floor
(Martin 1998). Sandhill ecosystems support black bear,
the endangered mole skink (Eumeces egregious), the
threatened Florida mouse (Podomysfloridanus), and
many others (Sundquist 2008).
Scrub, "Florida's version of a desert" (Martin
1998, page 12), occurs on very well-drained soils, such
as those along the ridge slopes (Sharpe 2005). Scrub
(Figure 7.7) is characterized by xerophytic plants like sand
pine (Pinus clausa), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), and
Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) (Sundquist 2008).
Scrub communities provide habitat for a range of ani-
mals, including the threatened Florida sand skink (Figure
7.8), a snake-like reptile which "swims" through loose
sand, the scrub jay, and the keystone gopher tortoise,
whose burrows provide essential shelter for amphibians,
owls, and rodents (Mushinsky and McCoy 1991, IFAS
1991, Sundquist 2008).


Figure 7.5A (above): Pre-Columbian natural com-
munities in central Florida (AFNN 1991). Figure
7.5B (at right): Remaining extent of select natural
communities (FNAI 2009a). Notice the vastly re-
duced extent of all communities shown, especially
scrub and sandhill.

Figure 7.6: Sandhill. (

Figure 7.7: Scrub. (The Nature Conservancy)

Chapter 7: The Study Region

Coastal Uplands
Pine Flatwoods

Upland Mixed Forests
Scrub Forests.

Cypress Swamp Forests
Wetland Forests
Coastal Saline Wetlands.
Upland Mesic Hardwood Forests
Region of Open Scrub Cypress.
Forests of Abundant Cabbage Palms
Fresh Water Marshes
Everglades Region Saw Grass Marshes
Everglades Region Marshes, Sloughs, Wet Prairies and Tree Islands.
Wet and Dry Prairie-Marshes on Marl and Rockland
C~3 Water Areas,

Chapter 7: The Study Region

Figure 7.8: Sand skink. (

Figure 7.9: Florida panther. (FFWCC)

Figure 7.10: Sandhill crane. (

Figure 7.11: Crested caracara. (

These xeric ridge communities (sandhill and
scrub), hotspots for endemism, host some of the highest
concentrations of threatened and endangered flora and
fauna in the United States (Martin 1998). Citrus groves
and development have encroached upon the ridges,
leading to the destruction or modification of some 83%
of ridge habitats (primarily sandhill and scrub) by 1990
(Archbold Biological Station n.d.). As a result, approxi-
mately fifty ridge plants and animals are threatened or
endangered (Sharpe 2005; Table 7.1).
In the mesic category is the Region's most ex-
tensive natural community, pine flatwoods, a longleaf or
slash (Pinus elliotti) pine forest with thick ground vegeta-
tion, often saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) or gallberry
(llex glabra) (FNAI 1990, Sundquist 2008). Pine flatwoods
are home to several rare plants, including Rugel's paw-
paw (Deeringothamnus rugelii) and Canby's wild indigo
(Baptisia calycosa var. calycosa). The ecosystem supports
threatened animals like the red cockaded woodpecker
and the Florida panther (Figure 7.9) (Sundquist 2008).
Like sandhill and scrub, pine flatwoods have fared poorly
as Florida has developed; FNAI states that "very few"
stands of pristine pine flatwoods remain in the state
(1990, page 24).
Unforested mesic communities, known as dry
prairie, are also prevalent in the Heartland Region. Sandy
and moderately well-drained, dry prairie communities
feature a few trees (e.g., Sabal palmetto) and clumps
of shrubs (e.g., saw palmetto) amidst large expanses of
wiregrass, broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), and love
grasses (Eragrostis spp.) (FNAI 1990, Sundquist 2008).
Endemic to Florida, dry prairies harbor the threatened
Florida sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pratensis; Figure
7.10), the rare crested caracara (Figure 7.11), and the tiny
least shrew (Cryptotis parva) (FNAI 1990). Dry prairie
communities have retreated considerably from their
original extents, as can be seen by comparing Figures
7.5A and 7.5B.
At the hydric end of the spectrum, the Region
contains several wetland forests, such as those found
along the Kissimmee, Caloosahatchee, and Peace Rivers.
These forests are characterized by a canopy of evergreen-
hardwoods (e.g., live oak [Quercus virginiana]) and palms
(e.g., sabal), with variable vegetation density at the
understory (e.g., swamp dogwood [Cornusfoemina]) and
groundcover (e.g., maiden ferns [Thelypteris spp.] levels
(FNAI 1990). Animal life includes the black bear, the
threatened eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperil),
and the swallow-tailed kite (Elanoidesforficatus) (FNAI
1990). Timber operations have significantly reduced
wetland forest areas in Florida (FNAI 1990).

Chapter 7: The Study Region

A hydric community found only in south central
Florida is the seepage slope ecosystem (also known as
cutthroat seep), which occurs on ridge sides where water
absorbed by well-drained upland soils seeps outward, allow-
ing cutthroat grass (Panicum abscissum), Curtiss' dropseed
(Sporobolus curtissii), and other grasses to thrive (Martin
1998, FNAI 1990). Shrub and tree growth is limited by regu-
lar fires, which reset the successional process every two to
five years (Martin 1998). Seepage slopes provide food and
habitat for animals like the squirrel tree frog (Hyla squir-
rella), cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), and black bear.
One source estimates that only one percent of this commu-
nity's original extents remain (Martin 1998).
As noted in the community descriptions, many
Heartland ecosystems and species face acute challenges,
these having been prompted primarily by habitat destruc-
tion and fragmentation (Mushinsky and McCoy 1991).
Figure 7.5B, which shows the remaining extents of several
(but not all) natural communities in the Region, illustrates
the impact agriculture, homebuilding, and other human
activities have had on area ecosystems. Our harmful effects
on Regional fauna are summarized by Table 7.1, which lists
threatened and endangered animals associated with upland
(essentially xeric) habitats along the Lake Wales Ridge, as
compiled by Archbold Biological Research Station. In ad-
dition to habitat fragmentation, exotic plants and animals,
most notably Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and
feral hogs (Sus scrofa), have disrupted indigenous flora and
fauna (Martin 1998). In many cases, these adaptable new-
comers are capable of out-competing and replacing their
native counterparts (Martin 1998).
Despite these challenges, Figure 7.12, an index of
native biodiversity across the state, shows that portions of
the Region remain as biologically rich as any in Florida. This
variety of life-which is apparently withdrawing into the Re-
gion's conservation and economically marginal areas-calls
for additional analysis and protection, the former of which
will be offered in Chapters 8-11.

The Heartland's History
How human activity in the Heartland came to affect its natu-
ral systems is of course closely linked to mankind's overall
history in the Region. A brief historical overview begins
with the arrival of Florida's first people, nomadic hunter-
gatherers, roughly 12,000 years ago (10,000 BCE), a date
that corresponds with the extinction of a number of game
animals, possibly due to over-hunting by the immigrants
(Gannon et al. 1996, Sundquist 2008). A new, more complex
culture, the early Archaic, arose in the state by about 7,500
BCE, but agriculture did not become widespread until the
eighth century CE (Gannon et al. 1996). As in other parts

Amphibians Status Codes
Scientific Common Federal Legal State Legal FNAI
Name Name Status Status
Special G3/S3
Rana capito Gopher Frog Not Listed Concern
Eumeces G4T2/S2
egregius Bluetail Mole
lividus Skink Threatened Threatened
Gopherus Special G3/S3
polyphemus Gopher Turtle Not Listed Concern
Neoseps G2/S2
reynoldsi Sand Skink Threatened Threatened
Pituophis G5T37/S3
melanoleucas Florida Pine Special
mugitus Snake Not Listed Concern
Sceloporus G3/S3
wood Scrub Lizard Not Listed Not Listed
Stilosoma Short-tailed G3/S3
extenuatum Snake Not Listed Threatened
Birds Status Codes
Scientific Common Federal Legal State Legal FNAI
Name Name Status Status
Aphelocoma Florida Scrub- S3
coerulescens Jay Threatened Threatened
Falco Southeastern G5T3T4/S37
sparverius American
paulus Kestrel Not Listed Threatened
Grus G5T2T3/S2S3
canadensis Florida
pratensis Sandhll Crane Not Listed Threatened
Mammals Status Codes
Scientific Common Federal Legal State Legal FNAI
Name Name Status Status
Podomys Special G3/S3
flondanus Florida Mouse Not Listed Concern
Sciurus niger Sherman's Fox Special G5T2/S2
shermani Squirrel Not Listed Concern
Ursus G5T2/S2
amencanus Florida Black Special
flondanus Bear Not Listed Concern
FNAI Status Codes:
Letter Number
G = Global (worldwide status) 1 Critically endangered
S= State (status in Florida) 2 Vulnerable to extinction
T refers to a taxonomic 3 Rare or restricted in range
subgroup 4 Apparently secure
5 Demonstrably secure
Table 7.1: Threatened and endangered upland animals of the Lake
Wales Ridge. Threatened and endangered upland plants (#=35) not
shown. (Data: Archbold Biological Station)

SluJ, A.:
I CIL.: 1-* 6. -:.a.-i-.rl

i- Figure 7 12: :IP
i I I.. :i..:

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Chapter 7: The Study Region

of the world, the proliferation of agriculture prompted
further cultural development, with a group known as the
Belle Glade culture building a series of villages, mounds,
and canals in present-day Glades County during the first
millennium CE (Gannon et al. 1996). Along with the
Timucua, who farmed and fished in the Region's north-
ern reaches, the Belle Glade peoples persisted into early
colonial times, perhaps witnessing the arrival of Ponce
de Leon's expedition in 1513, at which point Florida was
home to some 350,000 Native Americans (Gannon et al.
1996, The Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies n.d.).
De Leon's arrival ushered in an entirely new
era in which explorers, missionaries, and gold seekers
traversed the peninsula, spreading disease and fostering
general upheaval among the natives (The Metropolitan
Center for Regional Studies n.d.). In one famous exam-
ple, the de Soto expedition skirted the Heartland in 1539
on its way northward into various present-day southeast-
ern states (Gannon et al. 1996) (Figure 7.13). More per-
manent European influence, in the form of missions, did
not settle upon Florida's interior until the seventeenth
century, a development accompanied by a "spectacular
shrinking" of the native populations (Gannon et al. 1996,
page 87).

meDR n *IS *EX
I..m 15-
Figure 7.13: Possible DeSoto expedition route, 1539-1544. (

During the early eighteenth century, Creek and
Muskogee refugees from the Apalachicola River valley,
along with a few runaway black slaves, morphed into
the Seminole tribe, which began its century-long retreat
down the peninsula's interior in an effort to escape white
settlement in northern Florida and along the coasts (Gan-
non et al. 1996, The Metropolitan Center for Regional
Studies n.d.). In the second half of the eighteenth centu-
ry, Florida changed from Spanish to English and then back
to Spanish hands, in whose possession it was to remain

until becoming a United States territory in 1821 (Gannon
et al. 1996).
American settlers moving into central Florida
from Georgia and the Carolinas--coupled with Washing-
ton's policy of removing Native Americans to lands west
of the Mississippi--sparked a series of nineteenth-century
wars between the U.S. and the Seminoles (Gannon et
al. 1996, Martin 1998). The first of these, taking place
1817-1818 in southern Georgia and northern Florida,
served to drive some Seminoles bands southward into
the Heartland (Gannon et al. 1996). The Second Semi-
nole War (1835-1842) had a more direct impact on the
Region, with a pitched battle involving some 1,500 men
taking place in 1837 in present-day Okeechobee County
(Gannon et al. 1996). As this second war drew to a close,
most Seminoles were removed from Florida to Indian Ter-
ritory west of the Mississippi (Gannon et al. 1996). At the
time of Florida's statehood in 1845, less than one thou-
sand remained on the peninsula (Gannon et al. 1996).
In 1849, officially an "interbellum" year, ren-
egade Seminoles attacked and destroyed a trading
post near Payne's Creek in present-day Hardee County
but were handed over to U.S. authorities by Seminole
leaders. (Gannon et al. 1996, Florida Park Service n.d.).
Tensions soon flared again, however, and a third and final
Seminole war broke out in 1855 and lasted until 1858
(Gannon et al. 1996). During this final conflict, bands of
Seminole warriors attacked a number of isolated homes
and small military detachments in central and southern
Florida, but were eventually pursued into the swamps
and Everglades, from which all but about 200 were re-
moved by the start of the Civil War (Gannon et al. 1996).
The Civil War (1861-1865) drained the Region's
supplies--central Florida's ranches provided beef for the
Confederacy--and depleted its manpower but brought no
significant battles to the area (Martin 1998, The Metro-
politan Center for Regional Studies n.d.). After the war,
the foundations of the Heartland's present-day economy
began to emerge, particularly after railroads penetrated
southern Florida in the 1880s (Gannon et al. 1996).
Cattle ranching expanded and was soon complemented
by citrus farming in the uplands and phosphate mining in
the Peace River valley (Gannon et al. 1996, Martin 1998).
Lumber mills and turpentine plantations flourished, to
the detriment of the area's longleaf pine forests (Martin
1998). Steam-powered vessels plied Lake Okeechobee,
the Caloosahatchee, and the Kissimmee, which led to the
dredging and straightening of those rivers in the 1870s
and 1880s (Derr 1998). Truck farming emerged around
1900 near Lake Okeechobee, and fruits vegetables grown
there were shipped north via refrigerated rail cars (Gan-

Chapter 7: The Study Region

non et al. 1996).
The twentieth century brought large-scale popu-
lation growth and development to the Heartland. The
Florida land boom of the 1920s--including construction of
Edward Bok's tower (Figure 7.14) and gardens near Lake
Wales--gave way to the Great Depression, but an influx of
military spending and personnel--especially in the form of
Avon Park Air Force Range in Highlands County--touched
off a mid- and late-twentieth century population boom
that continues today (Gannon et al. 1996, Martin 1998,
The Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies n.d.). Polk
County, for example, saw its population soar from about
87,000 in 1940 to almost 500,000 in 2000 (BEBR 2004).
Even rural Okeechobee county experienced population
growth of nearly 1100% (3,000 to 35,910) between 1940
and 2000 (BEBR 2004). Table 7.2 summarizes regional
population changes during the twentieth century.
Other twentieth-century developments included
the construction of dikes, levees, and canals around Lake
Okeechobee and the Everglades, along with various Corps
of Engineers "improvements" to the Kissimmee River (C.
Barnett 2007). This taming of area hydrology enabled

Figure 7.14: Bok Tower, Lake Wales.

1930 2000 Change %Change
DE SOTO COUNTY 7,745 32,209 24,464 316
GLADES COUNTY 2,762 10,576 7,814 283
HARDEE COUNTY 10,348 26,938 16,590 160
HENDRY COUNTY 3,492 26,938 23,446 671
HIGHLANDS COUNTY 9,192 87,366 78,174 850
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY 4,129 35,910 31,781 770
POLK COUNTY 72,291 483,924 411,633 569
HEARTLAND REGION 109,959 703,861 593,902 540

*1930 first census for which data are available for all Heartland
counties. Data: BEBR
Table 7.2: Regional population growth, 1930-2000. (Data: BEBR 2004)
citrus, sugar, and other crops to be grown on reclaimed
land near Lake Okeechobee, but has also led to de-
creased freshwater flows and heavy nutrient loads in the
Everglades (C. Barnett 2007). Interestingly, restoration of
the Kissimmee River's natural course and a re-plumbing
of the Everglades along more natural lines are presently
underway (C. Barnett 2007).
Restorations notwithstanding, given current
trends, the farms that replaced the Okeechobee-area
wetlands may soon be replaced by suburban develop-
ment (C. Barnett 2007), which has already consumed
large portions of Polk County, especially around Lake-
land. The Heartland's population continues to grow and
require additional housing (Gannon et al. 1996, BEBR
2009), a trend that will be discussed further in the next
section and again in Chapter 11.

Regional Demographics*
This section will present estimates of current regional
population, it will briefly describe this population's
characteristics, and it then will turn to projections of
population growth in the Heartland, estimates of which
are made complex by the potential for sea level rise and
large-scale migration inland from the surrounding coastal
counties. Please note that population data have been
obtained from three sources, BEBR (the University of
Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research),
FGDL (the Florida Geographic Data Library), and the
U.S. Census Bureau, and therefore may not correspond
BEBR (2009) estimates the Heartland's 2008
population at 840,878, which is divided among its com-
ponent counties as shown in Figure 7.15. Polk County,
whose largest cities Lakeland (93,333) and Winter Haven
(33,353) are also the Region's largest, contributes more
than half, while Highlands County, whose largest cities
are Sebring (10,714) and Avon Park (9,033), contrib-
utes about 12% (BEBR, U.S. Census Bureau 2009). The

Chapter 7: The Study Region

ngure /.io: LaKelana, IOIK Louniy. (www.pnoTograpners-
Al;--t -nIm

ire 7.15: 2008 study county populations. (Data and graphic: Steed

Figure 7.17: LaBelle, Hendry County. (Google Images)

100,000 T -
- Miles N
05 10 20 30 40
Figure 7.18: Regional population centers. (Data: FGDL)

CI County Boundaries
Arterial Roads
M Lower Pop. Density E A R D
S Higher Pop. Density
0 5 10 20 30 40
Figure 7.19: Regional population density. (Data: U.S. Census Bureau, FGDL)

Chapter 7: The Study Region

County (%)

Table 7.3: Percentage of
regional population age 25+
with high school diploma in
2000. (Data and table: www.

Region's principal cities are shown in Figure 7.18.
remaining 150,000 or so residents are divided am(
five more rural counties, Hardee, DeSoto, Glades,
and Okeechobee, which contain no municipalities
than 6,800 people (Arcadia) (U.S. Census Bureau 2
Not surprisingly, Figure 7.19 shows popul
density to be highest in northern Polk County and
the Lake Wales Ridge in Highlands County, particu
around the intraridge lakes. Density also tends to
higher along arterial roads, an condition that will f
into Chapter 9's discussion of development suitabi
2000, the Region's overall population density in pe
acre (including water) was .15 (U.S. Census BureaL
though this figure increased to .18 by 2008 (BEBR
The Heartland's demographic characters
parallel those of other relatively rural portions of I
According to 2000 U.S. census figures, the most re
available, 79% of the Region's residents are white,
which some 17% are of Hispanic origin. Approxim
13% of Heartland residents are black, 1% Native A
can, 1% Asian, and about 6% fit some other categ(
did not provide data (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). T
dian age is 28, and the mean household size is 1.7
Census Bureau 2000).
Educational figures vary by county. Nearl

Figure 7.20: Percentage of regional population age 25+ with college
degree in 2000. (Data and graphic:

The of Polk County residents age 25 and older have a high
ong the school diploma, compared with only 54.2% in Hendry
Hendry, County (Steed 2009) (Table 7.3). Polk County also leads
larger the way in proportion of those 25 and older with a bach-
009b). elor's degree (14.9%), while Hendry again brings up the
ation rear with 8.2% (Steed 2009) (Figure 7.20). Both educa-
along tional measures are below the state average, as would be
larly expected in a rural region.
be As is the case for much of Florida, the essential
actor question concerning Heartland population figures is not
lity. In whether they will increase, but rather by what magni-
eople/ tude. If the twentieth century and current trends are
S2000), any indication, the Heartland may soon become rather
2009). crowded. BEBR (2009) provides high, medium, and low
tics population growth projections for all Florida counties
Florida. through 2035; however, since the Heartland visioning
cent process extends through 2060, extrapolations were need-
of ed. Thus the figures cited herein through the year 2035
ately are BEBR's medium projections (BEBR 2009), and those
meri- beyond are extensions derived by the method shown in
ory or Appendix A. Regional population growth projections are
he me- summarized numerically in Table 7.4 and graphically in
(U.S. Figure 7.21.
Figure 7.21 makes clear that it is primarily Polk
y 75% County's growth that will drive the Region's demographic

S 2000 2008 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 20351 2040 20451 2050 2055 2060
DE SOTO 32,209 34,487 35,100 36,600 38,400 40,100 41,800 43,300 44,884 46,469 48,053 49,638 51,222
GLADES 10,576 11,323 11,600 12,100 12,600 13,000 13,500 13,900 14,375 14,850 15,325 15,799 16,274
HARDEE 26,938 27,909 28,400 28,900 29,500 30,100 30,700 31,200 31,809 32,418 33,027 33,635 34,244
HENDRY 36,210 41,216 42,700 45,700 49,200 52,700 56,100 59,200 62,484 65,769 69,053 72,337 75,621
HIGHLANDS 87,366 100,207 101,900 108,600 116,300 123,700 130,700 137,400 144,548 151,695 158,843 165,991 173,139
OKEECHOBEE 35,910 40,003 40,500 42,600 44,500 46,400 48,200 50,000 52,013 54,026 56,039 58,051 60,064
POLK 483,924 585,733 586,200 630,100 679,600 728,100 774,300 818,500 866,297 914,093 961,890 1,009,686 1,057,483
HEARTLAND 713,133 840,878 846,400 904,600 970,100 1,034,100 1,095,300 1,153,500 1,216,410 1,279,319 1,342,229 1,405,138 1,468,048
BEBR 2009 medium projections
Extrapolations based on BEBR (2009) data, see Appendix A
Table 7.4: 2000 populations by county and region, 2008 population estimates by county and region, and 2010-2060 population projections by county
and region. (Data: BEBR; for 2040-2060 projection formula see Appendix A)

Chapter 7: The Study Region

gains over the next half-century.
Polk's population is projected
to rise from its current level of
585,733 to more than a million
by 2060; included in this nearly
500,000-person increase will be
most of the Region's new residents.
However, the potential for sig-
nificant growth in other Heartland
counties should not be overlooked.
Rural Hendry County, for example,
is projected to reach more than
75,000 residents by 2060, an 83%
increase over current figures--
which exceeds Polk's predicted
81% jump. Similarly, Highland's
County's 73,000 new residents
would represent a 73% increase
over its current total. Thus the
percentage increases must also be
considered (Table 7.5), as they offer





2000 2008 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050 2055 2060

Figure 7.21: 2000 population, 2008 population estimates, and 2010-2060 population projections by
county and region. (2000-2035 data: BEBR; 2040-2060 data are extrapolations; see Appendix A)

an important index of change, development, and coming
public expenditure, particularly in rural counties lacking
heavy infrastructure.
These projections are clouded by the distinct
possibility of sea level rise and resultant flooding in
coastal counties surrounding the Region, a disaster that
could prompt mass migration from both the Gulf and
Atlantic coasts to the relatively high-elevation Heart-
land counties. Figure 7.22 shows the portions of Florida
covered by one, three, and six meter sea level increases.
Given the wide range of estimates tossed around, pre-
dicting the extent of sea level rise is currently an inexact
science. Predicting how these estimated increases in
sea level will affect Florida's coastal populations is less
certain still. What can be stated with relative certainty
is that a one meter sea level rise will displace about
7.8 million Floridians, a three meter increase will force
9.8 million to move, and a six meter increase will send
about 11.5 million Floridians packing (Carr and Zwick
2009). It is only reasonable to assume that many of
those displaced from south and central Florida's coasts
will seek refuge in the Heartland, an outcome that
could push the Region's population growth beyond
even the highest current projections.

The Heartland Economy
As is now the case for much of America, the service
and retail sectors provide a large share (46.1%) of
Heartland jobs (Figure 7.23). Manufacturing and
construction together employ about fifteen percent of

2008 2060 Change % Change
DE SOTO 34,487 51,222 16,735 48.5
GLADES 11,323 16,274 4,951 43.7
HARDEE 27,909 34,244 6,335 22.7
HENDRY 41,216 75,621 34,405 83.5
HIGHLANDS 100,207 173,139 72,932 72.8
OKEECHOBEE 40,003 60,064 20,061 50.1
POLK 585,733 1,057,483 471,750 80.5
HEARTLAND 840,878 1,468,048 627,170 74.6

Extrapolations based on BEBR (2009); see Appendix A
Table 7.5: Projected county and regional population increases as percent-
ages. (2000-2035 data: BEBR; 2040-2060 data: see Appendix A)

Chapter 7: The Study Region

the Region's workforce, with government and natural re-
sources adding roughly another seven percent each. The
other major Heartland employment sectors are transpor-
tation, finance, insurance, real estate, and wholesaling
(Jensen 2009).
A summary of major employers by county con-
firms the importance of retail and service jobs--especially
health-care-related employment--in the Region (Figure
7.24). Wal-Mart is a top-four employer in four of the

Figure 7.23: Regional employment by industry. (Jensen 2009)

Figure Haven Caorrectonloyr Brgho Sounty leee Bing09)

seven study counties, and health care facilities are at or
near the top in all counties except Glades. Publix Super
Markets, based in Lakeland, employs some 8,500 in Polk
County alone, a figure that has likely increased since this
survey was conducted in 2006.
Figure 7.24 also shows the importance of the
natural resource sector, including mining and agriculture,
to the Heartland economy. Six of the seven counties are
home to a top-four natural-resource-based employer,
with Hendry featuring three, including
U.S. Sugar. Along with sugar, citrus,
beef, dairy products, sod, blueberries,
and winter vegetables are the Region's
chief agricultural exports (McCarthy
S 2009). Also noteworthy are the 3,000
phosphate mining and processing jobs
provided by Mosaic Corporation in Polk
County. As pointed out in the Heart-
land History section, phosphate mining
has been a regional economic staple
since the late nineteenth century.
Somewhat understated by
these figures is tourism's importance to
the Region. Presumably a large portion
of the eight percent of Heartland jobs
falling within the "leisure and hospital-
ity services" sector (Figure 7.23) owe
their existence to tourism. This sector
added jobs between 1996 and 2006
(Steed 2008), and, to consider but one
county, is referred to by Polk County's
government as a "strong economic
force" locally (Polk County Board of
Commissioners n.d.).
SBeyond sectors and employers,
how well does the regional economy
Provide for its residents? In a word,
poorly, at least when compared to
Florida as a whole. The average Heart-
land wage for 2008 was $30,900, nearly
$10,000 below that year's average
annual state wage (Table 7.6). Regional
unemployment for 2008 exceeded the
state's rate by more than a percentage
point, and the percentage of Heart-
land residents living in poverty (20.56)
surpassed the state figure (13.30) by
ry more than seven percent. Within the
SRegion, Polk County led the way in
income ($35,183) and featured the low-
est poverty rate (15.30%). Glades and

Chapter 7: The Study Region

Hendry Counties enjoyed the lowest unemployment 2008 Hea
rates at 6.50%. Highlands County offered the lowest
wages ($27,691), while Hendry suffered the highest
unemployment (10.20%) and poverty (23.80%) rates.
Thus, while cost of living rates are likely lower in DE SOTO COUNTY
the Heartland than in much of Florida, its economy GLADES COUNTY
comes up short by some important measures. HA E
Existing Regional Land Use and Conservation Areas OKEECHOBEE COUNT
Land uses within the Region reflect its traditional POLK COUNTY
economic bases. Agricultural land uses consume HEARTLAND REGION
nearly 47% of the Heartland's 4.8 million acres FLORIDA
(Table 7.7, Figures 7.25-7.26). Following agriculture Source: Florida Legisl
(in extent) are a series of natural and semi-natural Table 7.6: 2008 in
"uses": At 28.5%, natural land cover, whether formally (Dat
set aside for conservation or simply unused by people,
represents the second-largest category; open water or wetlands ranks
third (6.6%); and range (open land that may or may not be in agricultural
use) is fourth-largest at 6.5%. Next come extractive land uses--essen-
tially mining--which consume 4.9% of the Region's area, mostly in Polk
and northwest Hardee Counties (see Figure 7.26). Polk County, in fact,
boasts that 200,000 acres--or some 15.3% of its area--has been mined
for phosphate (Polk County Board of County Commissioners n.d.). Not to
be overlooked are residential land uses, ranking sixth regionally at 4.2%.
Infrastructure/utility (.5%), commercial (.5%), recreational (.3%), institu-
tional (.2%), and industrial (.2%) uses round out the list. Some .8% of the
Region's area is used in a way classified as "other" by the water manage-
ment districts. Broadly speaking, intensive land uses are most common
in Polk and Highlands Counties, while the other counties tend toward
agricultural land uses. Glades County, with its relatively high proportion
of natural land cover, is something of an exception to this generalization.
Of special importance to this study are conser-
vation lands. While some 1.4 million Heartland acres are
considered to be in a natural state by the water manage- RESIDENTIAL
ment districts, the Region contains only 714,990 acres of EXTRACTIVE
formally designated conservation land--that is, lands set OTHER
aside and managed primarily for non-human life (Figure ENATURAL
7.27). The Region's largest conservation area, Avon Park
Air Force Range, located in Polk and Highlands counties,
protects about 108,000 acres, including large swaths of
valuable "unaltered natural communities" (Martin 1998).
Fortunately, the preservation and health of native ecosys-
tems figure importantly in the Air Force's management
plan for the Range (Martin 1998). Kissimmee Prairie
Preserve, which adjoins the Avon Park Range's eastern
boundary, encompasses approximately 53,000 acres,
offering the Region's second-largest haven for plant
and animal life. Managed by the South Florida Water
Management District (SFWMD), the Preserve includes--
large expanses of dry prairie, along with several sloughs
that support mesic and hydric forests (FNAI 2009b). The

rtland Income, Unemployment, and Poverty
2008 Average 2008 2008 % Living
Annual Wage Unemployment Below Poverty
Rate Level
$29,680 6.60% 22.40%
$34,399 6.50% 21.80%
$28,431 6.50% 23.10%
$30,618 10.20% 23.80%
$27,691 7.00% 16.70%
Y $30,295 8.00% 20.80%
$35,183 6.70% 15.30%
$30,900 7.36% 20.56%
$40,579 6.20% 13.30%
lature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research
come, unemployment, and poverty by county and region.
:a: Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research)

Heartland Existing Land Use


TOTHEAP 36,090.98
RESIDENTIAL 202,780.41
RANGE 310,578.65
.%-F I-,ULTI-F AL 2,230,886.51
TOTAL 4,776,209.29
Table 7.7: Regional land use (2008). (Data: SFWMD,

Heartland Existing Land Use



.2% .5% .5%

Figure 7.25: Regional land use (2008 )

Chapter 7: The Study Region

Heartland Existing Land Use

", P- t p G CE

Legend L I--% - <, ;E 6
L Study Area A :
I Residential *
Commercial Pt : 1 p C'- 1 .
- Industrial F .:
- zExtractive
- ,Other
W IAgricultural
W IWater/Wetlands
Infrastructure/Utilities M IMI D E
F 1JMiles Figure 7.26: Existing (2008) regional land use (Data: SFWMD, SWFWMD, SJRWMD). The ten-mile
0 4.5 9 18 27 36 buffer zone around the study area was not included in Table 7.7 or Figure 7.18.

Chapter 7: The Study Region

SFWMD also owns and manages the Kissimmee River
Preserve, which protects some 48,000 acres along the
Kissimmee, mostly in Highlands and Okeechobee Coun-
ties. In Glades County, the Fisheating Creek Conserva-
tion Easement, about 41,000 acres in size, protects that
watercourse's riparian ecosystems, along with some dry
prairie and mesic flatwoods (FNAI 2009b).
On the Region's periphery are two important
conservation blocks, the Green Swamp assemblage of
conservation lands in Polk, Lake, and Sumter Counties,
and the Big Cypress National Preserve-Everglades Nation-
al Park complex in Collier, Monroe, and Dade Counties.
Efforts to link these and other large conservation areas by
way of corridors winding through the Heartland will be

the same deficiencies that plague such efforts around
the country (and world)-in essence, the Heartland's
reserves were selected not on biological criteria but
rather because they are of marginal value to people (e.g.,
the Green Swamp), because of their scenic qualities (e.g.,
Bok Tower Gardens Preserve), or simply because of ran-
dom landowner benevolence (e.g., Babcock Ranch, Avon
Park Range). As a result, the Region's conservation lands
must be supplemented by scientifically justified acquisi-
tions that will provide critically needed biotic protection
in a cost- and area-efficient manner (see Chapter 5). The
identification of these "must-preserve" areas is the sub-
ject of the next chapter.

discussed in Chapters 8, 10, and 11.
The Region includes
dozens of other small- and me-
dium-sized conservation areas.
Owner/managers of these smaller
preserves include the Nature
Conservancy, Archbold Biologi-
cal Station, county governments,
and, of course, state agencies like
the Department of Environmental
Protection, the water management
districts, and the Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FNAI
Despite this seemingly
extensive conservation portfolio,
dozens of area plants and animals
are endangered or threatened (see
Heartland Flora and Fauna), and
some ecosystems are vastly under-
represented in protected areas
(FNAI 1990). Sandhill and scrub
communities, once common in the
Heartland, are especially imperiled,
and few other ecosystems enjoy
anything like their original extents
(FNAI 1990). Wide-ranging species,
such as bear and panther, are gen-
erally confined to a few large con-
servation blocks like Big Cypress-
Everglades and the Green Swamp,
which may not be large enough to
support viable populations (Hoctor
2003; see Chapter 3).
In general, the Region's
conservation portfolio suffers from

C.. rl I. E

EA_ _.


,_ .=. P. IJ u H


. .. .

i" .. .* 0 D








'~ *
" L hre.akes Wildi.fbI*agemenl Ate

.. . p ..... ..;

A r n"" " "
-d -


SKissimmee River Preserve


E S 0 ".

Fishealing Creek
opservallon Easement -- : "




nty Boundaries
servation Lands L L I
ly Area r,
L F Miles
16 24 32
Figure 7.27: Regional conservation lands. (Data: FGDL, TNC)

. EP

* ...,. I Preserve

Gr~en wan) p



Put forth a bold vision of what it might take to maintain all of biodiversity in a region and then work out
the details later The vision will provide direction and motivation for all subsequent talk.
--Noss AND COOPERRIDER (1994), Saving Nature's Legacy, page 157

.4 4. 10

Figure 8.1: (Foreground) Florida black bear. (;
(Background) A portion of the Heartland Ecological Inventory GIS model.

The Heartland Ecological Inventory (HEI) used GIS
datasets and software (ArcGIS 9.3) to identify conserva-
tion priorities in the study Region. The process focused
on identifying lands essential to biodiversity, but also
highlighted areas important for the maintenance of
surface- and ground-water resources. The HEI therefore
represents an application of conservation science to the
preservation of both biological resources and ecosys-
tem services in a development-prone region, a process
likely of value in many high-growth areas. As would be
expected, the HEI draws upon several of the principles
introduced in Chapters 2 through 5. This chapter sum-
marizes the HEI process, presents its findings, and offers
a bit of analysis.

HEI Context and Purpose
The HEI was conducted to inform the Heartland 2060
process, a regional visioning study carried out from 2007-
2010 by the Central Florida Regional Planning Council
(CFRPC). As indicated in Chapter 1, this effort aimed to
establish a broad, non-binding blueprint for the Re-
gion's development over the next half-century--a vision
founded upon regional values (as perceived by CFRPC),
most notably an interest in "preserving natural areas and
protecting wildlife and agricultural production" (Central
Florida Regional Planning Council n.d.). The HEI's role

was to provide a defensible mapped inventory of areas
within the Region that require protection based on their
value to biodiversity and their role in maintaining fresh-
water resources. (In a moment I will discuss how project-
ing agricultural production factored into the HEI.)
A CFRPC-appointed advisory body, the Heart-
land 2060 Technical Advisory Group (TAG), conducted
the HEI. Chaired by The Nature Conservancy's program
director for Peninsular Florida, TAG included wildlife
biologists and conservation planners from the Univer-
sity of Florida's GeoPlan Center (GeoPlan), Florida State
University's Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI), the
University of South Florida, and The Nature Conservancy,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Archbold Biological
Station (see TAG roster in Appendix B). The group met
several times to formulate strategy and rules for the HEI
GIS models and, later, to evaluate the models' results. (A
website was also used to vet model results.) My role in
the process was to build and revise the GIS models based
on the strategy, rules, and critiques provided by TAG.
These models were revised several times per TAG input,
and a final product was approved in early 2010. In short,
the HEI was a collaborative, iterative effort based on a
range of expert opinions and contributions.
While TAG did not explicitly state its goals for
the HEI, they were clearly implied to be the identifica-

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

tion of: (1.) important wildlife habitat, particularly that
of rare and endangered species; (2.) ecosystems under-
represented in the Region's current conservation port-
folio; (3.) landscape elements necessary for continued
ecological functioning; and (4.) lands important for the
protection of surface- and ground-water. These goals
were largely complimentary (see Chapter 2) in that areas
found to be essential for one goal often proved important
for others. The goals parallel the conservation principles
outlined in preceding chapters and are evident in the
model descriptions and maps that follow.

HEI Strategy
After some deliberation and a few trial approaches, TAG
settled on a rules-based inventory strategy that came
to be known as the matrix model. Developed by Jon
Oetting of FNAI, the matrix model provided a two-
dimensional system for evaluating the Region's natural
resources. In the first dimension--value for conservation-
-the model sorted input data into three priority classes:
Priority 1 (higher conservation value), Priority 2 (moder-
ate conservation value), and Priority 3 (lower conserva-
tion value). In the second dimension--current land-use
intensity--input data were sorted into three classes based
on a simple ranking of current land-use intensities: Natu-
ral (primarily undisturbed by human activity), Working
(modified by humans but not intensively developed), and
Other (intensively developed or otherwise heavily modi-
fied by human activity). (For a description of how land
1 In this context, "matrix" has nothing to do with the
predominant landscape element.


Priority 1

Priority 2

uses were sorted into these classes, see Appendix B).
Two dimensions with three classes yielded a three-by-
three matrix, as shown in Table 8.1. However, as will be
seen shortly, the Other category was ultimately detached
from the final matrix model based on TAG instructions.
(This category has been modeled and mapped; see Ap-
pendix B).
Why bother with the second dimension,
land-use intensity? Why not simply prioritize based on
conservation value? The answer is threefold, centering
on political palatability, current theories on biodiversity
vis-a-vis agriculture, and overall Heartland 2060 goals.
First, simply sorting the input datasets by conservation
value would have resulted in a fairly conventional natural
resource inventory--but one in which most of the Region
was mapped in some shade of green. Since the HEI's
results were to be made public, TAG felt that claiming
too much land for conservation (i.e., painting too much
of the map green) would be impolitic. In particular, TAG
did not want area farmers and other rural landowners (an
important regional presence) to feel that environmental-
ists were attempting to restrict their land-use rights.
Second, many TAG members are of the posi-
tion that agricultural and other non-intensive human
land uses (to include silviculture) are compatible with
the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of
ecosystem services. As Oetting puts it, "The intent of
the matrix land use categories is to recognize that not all
natural resources must be set aside as conservation lands
in order for the resources to persist" (personal com-
munication). And, because the overall Heartland 2060



riority,1 Prioi..ty1 0r.iority 1

Priy 3 Natural land use, Conservation
Priority 3Priority 3

VVC.r ing land usLI r aLi.on
Pricrnt, 3

Olher land use Con-:er..3tlon
Pricrr, 3

Table 8.1: Schematic representation of the matrix modeling approach used for the Heartland Ecological Inventory.

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

process sought to protect agricultural land uses, their
incorporation into the conservation model was thought to
expand the model's utility and, in effect, its constituency.
For these reasons, the final matrix model split conserva-
tion priorities into Natural and Working categories, with
Natural priorities shown in shades of green and Working
priorities in shades of brown. In this way, the final map is
not overly green, and many agricultural lands have been
identified as a resource whose protection is valuable in
both biological and human terms.

Modeling Process
With the matrix as a strategic guide, TAG proceeded to
gather relevant input datasets for the model. Targeted
were reliable shapefiles and rasters spatially representing
resources considered integral to the four HEI goals out-
lined above. Because of limited time and funding, the HEI
relied primarily on existing datasets, such as those already
developed and/or catalogued by the Florida Geographic
Data Library (FGDL) and FNAI. Tom Hoctor of the Univer-
sity of Florida's GeoPlan Center created new datasets for
resources not adequately represented by existing analy-
ses. Sorted by goal, the datasets used in the HEI process
are briefly described below; some contribute to more
than one goal and thus appear more than once. Maps of
the input datasets appear on the following pages.

Goal 1: Identify important wildlife habitat, particularly
that of rare and endangered species.
1. Bear Habitat Model (a.k.a. "Bear"): Represents
potential black bear habitat in the Region. (Source:
Tom Hoctor, GeoPlan)
2. Panther Habitat Model ("Panther"): Represents
potential panther habitat in the Region. (Tom Hoctor,
3. Rare Species Habitat Conservation Priorities
("FNAIHAB"): An inventory of important habitat for
plants and animals (terrestrial and aquatic) based
on both species richness and species rarity. Includes
habitat for all federally-listed and many state-listed
species. (FNAI)
4. Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas ("SHCA"):
Shows important habitat conservation needs on pri-
vate lands for 30 terrestrial vertebrates; similar to a
Gap Analysis. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
5. Wetlands ("Wetlands"): A catalogue of all wet-
lands in the Region based on water management
district land-use/land cover data. (St. John's River,
South Florida, and Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment Districts)
--Also directly relevant: Natcom (#6), PNA (#7),
Greenways (#10), Riparian Greenways (#13)

Goal 2: Identify ecosystems underrepresented in the
Region's current conservation portfolio.
6. Under-Represented Natural Communities ("Nat-
com"): Shows the remaining extents of several natu-
ral communities (ecosystems) identified by FNAI as
under-represented in or under-protected by existing
conservation areas. (FNAI)
7. Potential Natural Areas ("PNA"): Identifies quality
natural communities (criteria included patch size and
rarity) on privately owned lands. (FNAI)

Goal 3: Identify landscape elements necessary for contin-
ued ecological functioning.
8. Conservation Land Buffers ("Conservation Buf-
fers"): Identifies and priorities areas around existing
conservation lands where intensive land uses may
negatively impact the conservation lands. (The Na-
ture Conservancy, GeoPlan)
9. Conservation Land Smoke Buffers ("Smoke Buf-
fers"): Identifies and priorities areas around existing
conservation lands where intensive land uses may
conflict with prescribed burns within the conserva-
tion areas. (The Nature Conservancy)
10. Florida Ecological Greenways Network ("Green-
ways"): Represents ecological hubs--large core
patches of high conservation value--and a network of
corridors connecting them. (GeoPlan)
11. Landscape Integrity Model ("Landscape Int."): An
index of ecological integrity based on a combination
of patch size and land-use intensity. For example,
larger patches with lower-intensity land uses rate
highly, while smaller, intensively used patches are
assigned a lower value. (GeoPlan)
12. Priority Buffers Along Riparian Corridors ("Ripar-
ian Buffers"): Delineates important natural or semi-
natural land cover along rivers and streams. (Tom
Hoctor, GeoPlan)
13. Riparian Greenways ("Riparian Greenways"): A
supplemental catalog of riparian corridors with a
focus on connectivity. (Tom Hoctor, GeoPlan)
--Also directly relevant: Wetlands (#5)

Goal 4: Identify lands important to the quality and quan-
tity of surface- and ground-water.
14. Aquifer Recharge Model ("Aquifer Recharge"): A
prioritization of potential value for aquifer recharge
based on features that contribute to aquifer vulner-
ability (e.g., topographical depressions and thickness
of aquifer-confining strata). (FNAI)
--Also directly relevant: Wetlands (#5); Priority Buf-
fers Along Riparian Corridors (#12); Riparian Green-
ways (#13)

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

The other important matrix model input was of
course the land-use-intensity dataset used to represent
Natural, Working, and Other land-use intensities; this
dataset is mapped at left. A reclassified version of water-
managment-district land-use data, this layer provided the
matrix's second dimension, current land-use intensity.
(Again, for the specifics of this reclassification, see Ap-
pendix B.) As such, it was factored into all operations in
which input datasets were sorted into Natural/Working/
Other categories. Essentially, then, this dataset was used
to tease the three levels of conservation value into nine
separate categories, each reflecting both conservation
value and current land-use intensity.
Input datasets in hand, TAG next drew up a
workable rule-set for implementing the Matrix strategy.
The inputs shown on the preceding pages (except the
land-use-intensity dataset) required both prioritization
by conservation value and categorization by land-use
intensity. This process called for a set of rules whereby
each input dataset would be sorted along both param-
eters. Such a rule-set was devised (and revised) through
a committee process, the particulars of which are mostly
beyond my expertise. Suffice it to say that prioritization/

Heartland 2060
Resources by Conservation Strategy Final Matrix
Revised January 2010


Priority 1

Priority 2

Priority 3 Bear Value 6, 5, 4 on natural
FNAIHAB P4-6 on natural
Greenways P4-6/Riparian Greenways on natural
Landscape Int P7-10 on natural
NC All upland hardwood forest and pine flatwoods
Panther Value 6 and 5 on natural
SHCA P4-5 on natural
Smoke Buffers Values 6-7 on natural

categorization rules were developed for each dataset
by experts and passed along to me for implementation.
These rules are best summarized in the matrix-with-rules
table shown below (Table 8.2).
Table 8.2 is simply a fleshed-out version of Table
8.1; it can be thought of as a set of instructions for dis-
tributing and processing the input datasets based on the
overall matrix strategy. Thus, for example, the FNAIHAB
input dataset's highest priority (P1; see map 3) remained
Priority 1 in the matrix model but was split in two by the
model's current-land-use-intensity dimension. Similarly,
Bear Habitat values 9 and 8 (see map 1) became Priority
1, which was split in two by current land-use intensity.
Like FNAIHAB and Bear Habitat, most inputs datasets
were already prioritized according to conservation value,
allowing us to compress their prioritization schemes into
three classes, which we then to split using the land-use-
intensity layer shown at left.
However, a closer look at Table 8.2 reveals some
exceptions to the general rule of "compress the conserva-
tion priorities and then categorize according to land-use-
intensity". By design, some input datasets appear in only
one category. To take one case, per FNAI's definition, the

"Working Landscapes"

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Abbrev. Name
Conservation Buffers
LI or Landscape Int

Full Name
Bear Habitat Model
Conservation Land Buffers
Rare Species Habitat Conservation Priorities
Florida Ecological Network Greenways
Landscape Integrity Model
Natural Communities
Panther Habitat Model

Abbrev. Name
Riparian Buffers
Riparian Greenways
Smoke Buffers

Full Name
Potential Natural Areas
Aquifer Recharge Model
Priority Buffers Along Riparian Corridors
Riparian Greenways
Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas
Conservation Land Smoke Buffers

Table 8.2: Matrix modeling approach with rules. Columns will be referred to as "categories", rows as "priorities".

Bear Values 9, 8 on natural Bear Values 9, 8 on working Recharge P1
FNAIHAB P1 on natural FNAIHAB P1 on working Smoke Buffers Value 9 on other
G reenways: C1 -2 on natural lancover G reenways: C1 -2 on working lancover
NC Scrub and sanchill ifon PNA 14100 or Ll 7-10 Panther Value 9 on working
NC All dry prairie, seeps, sanchill upland lake Riparian Buffers Value 1 on working
Panther Value 9 on natural SHCA P1 on working
Riparian Buffers Value 1 on natural
SHCA P1 on natural

Bear Value 7 on natural Bear Value 7 on semi-natural Conservation Buffers Value 8 on other
Conservation Buffers Value 9, 8, 7 on natural Conservation Buffers Values 9, 8, or 7 on working Recharge P2-3
FNAIHAB P2-3 on natural FNAIHAB P2-3 on working Smoke Buffers Value 8 on other
Greenways P1-3 on natural G reenways P1 -3 on working
NC All Seepage Slope/Bog and Tropical Hammock Panther Value 7 and 8 on working
NC Rem. scrub and sanchill Riparian Buffers value 2-3 on working
Panther Value 7 and 8 on natural SHCA P2-3 on working
SHCA P2-3 on natural Smoke Buffers Value 9 or 8 on working
Smoke Buffers Value 9 or 8 on natural
Retlands all

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

Natural Communities dataset includes only natural areas,
so it appears only in the Natural Category. In some in-
stances, Natural Communities was sorted along a second,
land-use related dimension using the Potential Natural
Area or Landscape Integrity layers.
Beyond this straightforward exception, though,
we encounter the tricky issue of which datasets are com-
patible with which land-use-intensities, from which I will
take some refuge by stating that TAG made these judge-
ments. Oetting (personal communication) has provided a
synopsis of their logic:

Resources included in the "Natural" land use
category are those resources that require rela-
tively pristine natural systems in order to func-
tion and persist long term....While some of these
resources could potentially remain viable with
some degree of human disturbance, natural land
cover is highly preferable, especially for those
resources in Priority 1 on the matrix. Resources
included in the "Working Landscapes" cat-
egory are resources which are compatible with
relatively low-intensity human land uses such as
agriculture and silviculture....Resources included
in the "Other" category are potentially compat-
ible with moderate or even high intensity land
uses, assuming that impacts to the resources are
carefully accounted for.

The matrix therefore implies that land-use intensities
should not be increased in most areas currently classi-
fied as Natural or Working. The resources represented
by the datasets in these categories basically will not
tolerate higher-intensity uses. Thus a one-sentence
explanation of why inputs appear where they do might
read: Resources (represented by datasets) were placed
in categories denoting the land-use intensities they can
safely tolerate. Applying this logic, TAG placed Wetlands
only in Natural, Panther Habitat in Natural and Working,
Conservation Buffers in all three, and so on. Wetlands,
they evidently feel, are compatible with natural condi-
tions only, panthers with natural conditions and agricul-
ture/silviculture, and conservation land buffers with both,
plus, perhaps, more-intensive land uses.
How were these rules transcribed into GIS
models? In brief, each rule in the matrix--e.g., "FNAIHAB
P4-6 on natural"--required a unique GIS operation which
generated a unique output dataset. Carr and Zwick
(2007) term an output dataset representing a single rule
a "single utility assignment" (SUA). SUAs are in raster, or
grid, form, meaning they are composed of millions of tiny
cells (in this study, cell size = 10 meters by 10 meters),
each possessing an assigned value (Figure 8.2). Because
the matrix's rules were used to create SUAs, the values

assigned to the SUA cells ex-
pressed whether or not those 1 1 1 1
cells met the rule-specified
criterion or criteria. Rule
"FNAIHAB P4-6 on natural", 1 1
for example, specifies cells in
the FNAIHAB input dataset
having values of 4, 5, or 6
that overlap with the Natural
portion of the land-use
intensity dataset. The GIS Figure 8.2: Sample raster.
operation therefore began by (Stanley Latimer)
examining all cells in dataset
FNAIHAB, and finding the ones assigned 4s, 5s, or 6s by
that dataset's creator. The operation then compared
these FNAIHAB 4/5/6 cells with the land-use intensity
dataset to determine which overlapped with areas having
a Natural land-use intensity. Finally, the operation cre-
ated a new, output grid (an SUA), perfectly coextensive
with both inputs, in which cells were assigned a 1 if they
met the criteria and a 0 if they didn't (Figure 8.3). Simply
put, the GIS operation used the input datasets (e.g.,
FNAIHAB) and the land-use intensity dataset to identify
areas meeting the rule's criteria.



Figure 8.3: Portion of the SUA for rule "FNAIHAB P4-6 on natural".
Green areas met this rule's criteria and were areas assigned a value of
1; other areas were assigned a value of 0.

This sort of GIS operation was performed for
all fifty-six matrix rules, yielding fifty-six SUAs. These
datasets were then combined by category, with, for
example, the Natural category's twenty-six SUAs coming
together to form a single output dataset. Carr and Zwick
(2007) call a dataset of this type--one created by combin-
ing more than one SUA--a "multiple utility assignment"
(MUA). Next, the MUAs produced by combining each
category's SUAs were themselves combined into a "com-
plex MUA", which encompasses all fifty-six rules and thus
serves to represent the entire matrix (Figure 8.4).
If entire categories of SUAs were simply com-
bined, how were the three priority classes achieved?

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

Rule 1

Rule 2

Rule 3

Natural Category


Working Category

Matrix Model

Other Category

Figure 8.4: Diagram showing the progression from SUAto complex MUA. SUAs are not shown for the Working and Other categories. (Adapted from
Carr and Zwick 2007)

Above I wrote (to simply the SUA concept) that SUA cells
were assigned a value of 1 if their input datasets' cells
met rule-specified criteria and a 0 if they did not. In fact,
this was only true for those SUAs coming out of the ma-
trix's Priority 3 row. SUA cells meeting the criteria speci-
fied by rules in the Priority 2 row were assigned a value of
2 (and other cells 0), while criteria-meeting cells for Prior-
ity 1 rules were assigned a 3 (and other cells 0). Because
the SUAs were combined using a GIS operation called Cell
Statistics Maximum, this numbering scheme provided for
the three priority classes: The Cell Statistics Maximum
operation searches a set of rasters and finds the highest
cell value in the set at each location (Figure 8.5); that
maximum value is assigned to corresponding cells in the
output layer (the MUA). Thus, for each location (i.e.,
each cell), Cell Statistics Maximum examined the input



Figure 8.5: At each location, Cell Statistics Maximum chooses the high-
est cell value from the set of input rasters. (Stanley Latimer)

rasters (the SUAs), found the maximum value, and then
assigned this value to that location in the output raster
(the MUA). In this way, Priority 1, which was assigned a
value of 3, trumped Priority 2 (value = 2), which trumped
Priority 3 (value = 1). (Priority 1, of course, also trumped
Priority 3.) Those locations at which all SUAs provided a
value of 0 remained 0.
The final combination, represented by the
second purple bar in figure 8.4, involved multiple steps.
First, the Natural MUA was reclassified so that its 1-2-3
prioritization became 7-8-9. Similarly, the Working MUA
was reclassified so that its 1-2-3 prioritization became
4-5-6. At this point we had three MUAs (though the
Other MUA was not included in the final combination),
each with a separate prioritization code, which would al-
low us to know which cells were which in the final model.
We would know, for instance, that a cell with a value of 7
meant Natural Priority 3 and that 6 meant Working Prior-
ity 1. Then we combined the MUAs using Cell Statistics
Maximum, creating a complex MUA representing the en-
tire matrix (Figure 8.6 [next spread]). (Since the Natural,
Working, and Other MUAs were mutually exclusive, any
of several operations would have served for the combina-
Two last methodology points remain before
turning to the HEI's results. First, to avoid including
maps for all fifty-six SUAs, they have been combined
(using Cell Statistics Maximum) by input dataset within
each category. So, for example, Priorities 1, 2, and 3 on
Natural for FNAIHAB have been placed on the same map,
as have FNAIHAB's Priorities 1, 2, and 3 on Working. Per

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

Figure 8.6: Diagram of the matrix modeling
process. Enlargements of diagram components
appear in the next section. The Other category
does not appear in this diagram as it was de-
tached from the Matrix model per TAG.





Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

Cell Statistics Maximum, the higher priorities covered the
lower ones, an irrelevant loss as the SUAs were ultimately
combined with the same operation. Second, as men-
tioned earlier, the Other category was dropped from the
final matrix model (the complex MUA). TAG chairperson
Tricia Martin (personal communication) explains its exclu-
sion as follows:

In the end, we decided to delete the "other"
land use category. We were concerned that the
entire study area was deemed a priority of one
kind or another and that this wouldn't play well
with landowners and county commissioners.

SUAs were created for this category's rules, and from
these an MUA was derived using the combination pro-

cess described above. The Other MUA, however, was
not factored into the final matrix model and is presented
separately in Appendix B.
The matrix model's SUAs (i.e., its reclassified in-
puts) and MUAs (i.e., the combined SUAs) are mapped on
the following pages, and the final model appears on page
116. Greens denote conservation priorities located on
Natural land uses and browns conservation priorities on
Working land uses. Darker colors indicate higher conser-
vation priorities and lighter colors lower priorities, while
areas not appearing as any shade of green or brown
are not considered conservation priorities. The Natural
land-use category is presented first; maps are ordered
to match (as closely as possible) Table 8.2. Because of
the model's complex structure, diagrams introduce each
modeling phase.

Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

Natural Category SUAs


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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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Chapter 8: The Heartland Ecological Inventory

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