Bridging the Gulf Between Science and Practice
The Metropolitan Conservation Alliance bridges the gulf between science and practice by developing innovative, locally-based strategies that tackle ecosystem loss and urban sprawl at the suburban/rural frontier.
THE HUMAN ASPECT
Human settlements around the world are often located in biologically rich regions because civilizations thrive where there is an abundance of natural resources such as water, fertile soils, and food. Conservation efforts are especially challenging in these populated, biologically rich areas. There is much that is worth protecting; at the same time many land uses compete for resources. In such settings, conservation can only be achieved by working together-collaborating across political boundaries and establishing common goals among the many interest groups.
An expanding wave of poorly planned development known as sprawl, fostered by a lack of informed land-use decisions, threatens the rich biological heritage of many regions. Lack of communication between conservation scientists and land-use decision-makers has resulted in the destruction of wildlife habitats and the fragmentation of remaining habitat area into small, isolated, and often degraded patches, unable to support a diversity of wildlife and ecological services.
Addressing sprawl requires a multi-faceted approach. In the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance (MCA) "Biotic Corridor" approach, wildlife surveys are conducted in clusters of towns to determine where critical resources occur at a multi-town, landscape scale. Survey results become the baseline layer in the planning process and help to inform policy. Rather than using biological information to oppose development, it is used to guide development into more ecologically sensitive and sustainable directions. In this way, MCA Program seeks a balance between environmental and economic health.
MCA develops innovative conservation tools that respond to the needs of communities and decision-makers as they strive to integrate biodiversity information into the land-use planning process. Published in the MCA Technical Paper Series, these tools are developed in collaboration with land-use attorneys, biologists, developers, municipal officials, agency personnel, and university researchers. Collaboration is necessary to maximize the dissemination of these tools, so we develop partnerships with local land trusts, watershed organizations, conservation districts, and others.
Building bridges between science and practice requires more than just a transfer of information. It requires education, capacity-building, provision of technical support, collaboration with partner organizations, and a long-term rapport with land-use practitioners. The key ingredient of conservation is collaboration. By bridging gaps, strengthening communications, and integrating the needs of all parties, we can ensure that wildlife and the ecosystem that they depend upon in developing areas remain healthy, now and into the future.
MCA PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD and PURCHASE
In 2008 all the intellectual property rights of the MCA, including the copyrights and owernship of the MCA technical paper series, were transferred to Dr. Michael W. Klemens. The Wildlife ConservationSociety and the Cary Institute are no longer associated with the MCA or its publication series.
Not Available A Tri-State Comparative Analysis of Local Land Use Authority: NY, NJ, & CT. MCA Technical
Paper No. 1. 1999.
From Planning to Action: Biodiversity Conservation in Connecticut Towns. MCA Technical Paper No.
Available for Purchase
Pocantico Hills Biodiversity Plan, Rockefeller State Park Preserve and Associated Private Lands: A
Public-Private Land Stewardship Initiative. MCA Technical Paper No. 12. 2006.