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Title Social and ecological aspects of conservation development as a strategy for biodiversity conservation on private lands
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree MS(M.S.)
Discipline/Department Ecology
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Colorado State University
Abstract Private lands harbor a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity, and they are also facing widespread threats from extractive land uses, anthropogenic disturbances, and land conversion for residential and commercial development. With decreased funding and support for public land acquisition and management, developing effective and economically viable tools for conservation on private lands is increasingly important. One method is conservation development (CD), an alternative to residential sprawl designed to decrease negative environmental impacts by clustering houses in a small portion of a property while preserving the remaining land as protected open space. Although CD makes up approximately one-fourth of all of the private lands conserved in the U.S., little research has assessed where and why this tool is implemented, long-term management of CD open space, or specific positive or negative effects on wildlife communities. I conducted a thorough investigation of CD as a private land conservation strategy using a variety of methods. In chapter one, I investigated CD’s ability to successfully protect animal populations by examining bird and mammal occurrence in 14 CD subdivisions (range: 14-432 ha) in Northern Colorado, USA. Using point count and camera trap data in an occupancy modeling framework, I evaluated the relative importance of 9 subdivision design factors (e.g. housing density, proportion of CD preserved, total area of the protected space) and 14 stewardship factors (e.g. mowing, livestock, native vegetation cover) in influencing the richness of human-sensitive and human-adapted species and probability of use by 16 birds and 6 mammals. I found that bird and mammal species richness and habitat use were associated predominantly with design characteristics that maximize the natural or undisturbed land area both within and surrounding the development (e.g., proportion of CD preserved, total area of the protected space, proportion of natural land cover types at large scales). Habitat use by birds was frequently influenced by local habitat composition and quality, and several bird and mammal species had decreased habitat use in areas with increased localized disturbances such as the presence of humans and mowing in the open space. In chapter two, I used Social Network Analysis (SNA) to examine participation of individuals and companies (actors) in CD implementation. Using data gathered from public county records, I quantified actor participation in CD subdivisions in six counties in Colorado, USA. I examined and compared the patterns of actor participation in CDs among counties and identified the individuals and organizations that were most consistently associated with the implementation of CDs within each county. I found that social networks of actor participation in CD differed among counties, and network characteristics varied depending on the population of the county, the total number of CDs in the county, and the total number of actors in the network. My results also showed that the most highly…
Subjects/Keywords habitat use; mammal; social network analysis; housing development; bird; management
Contributors Pejchar, Liba (advisor); Reed, Sarah E. (advisor); Bailey, Larissa L. (committee member); Seidl, Andrew F. (committee member)
Language en
Rights Copyright of the original work is retained by the author.
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:10217/167200
Repository colostate
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-12-06
Grantor Colorado State University
Note [] Includes bibliographical references.; [] 2015 Summer;

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