Instructor: Jim Tolisano
Rural private landowners in the state of New York are faced with increasing pressures to develop or otherwise dispose of lands with very high ecological value. A very limited job market, combined with rising recurrent household costs and one of the highest property tax bases in the U.S., has forced many rural landowners to degrade or eliminate intact ecosystems through residential subdivisions and commercial developments. Recent research suggests that this trend is likely to increase unless new income sources are made accessible.
The Adirondack Lands Connectivity & Ecosystem Services Project (ALCES) responds directly to these challenges through a multi-phased effort that will provide tools and support to management agencies, civil society groups, and private landowners to increase the understanding and application of traditional and emerging ecosystem service markets, and policy and regulatory mechanisms that can further incentivize enhanced conservation practices on private lands. The ALCES project provides the technical inputs and community engagement required to demonstrate that biodiversity and ecosystem service conservation can advance on private lands through engagement with business and marketplace mechanisms.
Specifically, the ALCES project will achieve the following outcomes:
• Fill the data gaps to improve the accuracy in assessments of supply and demand in emerging and potential
ecosystem service markets.
• Identify priority areas that can enhance connectivity and conservation of priority ecosystems through adoption
of best practices on private lands.
• Engage urban beneficiaries in enhanced private land conservation through upstream-downstream water service
• Engage private landowners, land and resource managers, and the business community in ecosystem market
development through direct outreach and online access to planning and decision support tools.
• Produce pilot projects to demonstrate practical opportunities for enhanced local and regional habitat connectivity
through incentivized conservation practices on private lands, using ecosystem service markets in combination
with supportive public policy measures.
• Increase the adoption of climate change adaptation practices by public agencies and private landowners.
• Overcome the paralysis constraining the use of ecosystem services as a conservation tool.
This capstone will build from the lessons learned and data produced by 2011 and 2013 capstone classes, specifically concentrating on developing new data and analysis. Students will work closely with the WCS Global Initiatives and AdirondacksProgram team members to support their work on this project.
Watch this capstone presentation on YouTube.