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Open Space Management Model

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Funding Year: 2017

Research Areas: Natural Capital

Regions: North America

There are more than 1,100 land trusts across the United States, which collectively, have conserved more than 56 million acres of landabout double the amount of public land in national parks in the lower 48 states. Often these dynamic conservation areas are overseen by a relatively small staff who may not have access to the range of resources and capital necessary to make conservation management decisions that are fully informed by data and research.


To address this need, this project will evaluate a solutions-focused open space management practicum course in collaboration with the San Francisco Bay Areas Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a land conservation organization. The researchers have already piloted this effort at Stanford. The practicum models how universities and land trusts might create on-the-ground conservation impact by engaging students and land managers in research to produce conservation solutions. Once evaluated at a local and regional scale, the researchers will expand the work nationally through networked partners, such as the Land Trust Alliance. They aim to develop a digital interactive atlas and other tools; expand to other conservation agencies; enhance research opportunities for students; expand, apply and share evaluative research; and develop model projects and tools to share nationally.

Learn more about the Realizing Environmental Innovation Program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

Nicole Ardoin, Professor of Education

Deborah Gordon, Professor of Biology

Project Team:

Sarah Truebe, Student Affairs, Haas Center for Public Service

Rebecca Niemiec, E-IPER Ph.D. Candidate

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