Designing Nature's Half: The Landscape Conservation Podcast

episode artwork

Rob Campellone and Tom Miewald

04 March 2024

1h 6s

Assessing Landscape Conditions: A Key Aspect of Landscape Conservation Design



Guest: Pat Comer, Chief Ecologist (retired) with NatureServe

Topic: Assessing Landscape Conditions: A Key Aspect of Landscape Conservation Design

Key Points Discussed:

  • Assessing Landscape Conditions: The conversation begins by breaking down assessment into two categories: current conditions (risks and vulnerabilities) and plausible future conditions (scenario planning).

  • Technical Nature of Assessments: Emphasis is placed on the highly technical nature of assessment work. Whether integrated landscape assessments or other forms, such tasks are often compiled by experts like Pat Comer and NatureServe.
  • Documenting At-Risk Status of Terrestrial Ecosystem Paper (2022): Pat discusses the results of his paper which details ecosystem risk assessments.

  • Climate Vulnerability Assessment Paper (2019): Another publication by Pat focuses on applying climate vulnerability assessments to major vegetation types in Western United States.

  • Mapping Zones for Adaptation Paper (2023): A third paper Pat co-authored with Emily Seddon explores using vulnerability assessment results to map out zones for adaptation strategies.

Episode Highlights:

NatureServe Overview: Pat provides insights into how NatureServe operates as an umbrella organization for state natural heritage programs. He outlines their mission to compile standardized data sets that answer foundational ecological questions.

Multidisciplinary Challenges: The discussion touches upon challenges when compiling multidisciplinary information essential for holistic ecosystem understanding. It emphasizes collaboration among scientists from different fields to agree upon standards necessary before engaging broader community stakeholders.

Social-Ecological Integration: Reflecting on progress made towards integrating social science with ecological data, Pat shares optimism about expanding methodologies that encompass diverse perspectives beyond just ecological expertise—a critical aspect needed for comprehensive landscape planning efforts.

Provided Resources: