Conservation Development Working Group

Generating conservation science and policy solutions for sustaining biodiversity and human communities along the urban to rural gradient

The rapid conversion of private land to residential development and limited funding available for conservation make this a critical time to examine new tools for incorporating conservation objectives into land-use policy and development practice. With SoGES support, the Conservation Development research team convened a dynamic and interdisciplinary working group comprised of leading experts in the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of residential development to implement a high-impact research and outreach program that is producing findings of both scientific importance and practical relevance. The working group has become a regional and national-level resource for expertise on this topic, positioning CSU in a strong leadership role in the innovation of land conservation and sustainable development. Currently, they focus on the following activities:

  • Measuring the biophysical effects of subdivision design and stewardship on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Identifying social and economic barriers and opportunities for implementing planning tools and development incentives that achieve conservation objectives.
  • Generating practical recommendations for how design and stewardship standards could be improved to protect biodiversity and other natural resources in residential landscapes.
  • Providing technical assistance and biological expertise to communities regarding land-use policy for conservation of natural resources on private lands.

Group Leaders

Liba Pejchar - Assistant Professor, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University
Sarah Reed - Affiliate Faculty, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University

Key Accomplishments

  • We have communicated our research results in five peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, two workshops, two symposia, 35 invited talks and conference presentations, seven popular press articles, and two blogs. These include articles in widely-read and high-profile outlets such as Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Conservation Biology and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Raised nearly $300,000 of internal and external funds to support research and outreach activities.
  • Contributed to the career development of many undergraduate and graduate students, including three MS students that have completed their degrees under the team’s mentorship.
  • Convened two workshops to generate practical recommendations for how design and stewardship standards could be improved to protect biodiversity and other natural resources in residential landscapes.
  • Served as best practices advisors to two communities, which has resulted in the passing of ground-breaking land-use regulations and strategic plans for sustaining nature in urban and rural areas, which will serve as models for other communities.
  • Launched a successful citizen science program to engage diverse local residents in long-term monitoring of the biological value of urban green spaces.

Getting Involved

The Conservation Development working group welcomes participants from any discipline or institution interested in the science and practice of sustaining biodiversity and human communities in urbanizing landscapes. They are enthusiastic about engaging with diverse groups, including the private sector (developers and home buyers), conservation organizations, faculty and students at CSU and other academic institutions, and other members of the public.

Please contact Liba Pejchar (liba.pejchar@colostate.edu) or Sarah Reed (sarah.reed@colostate.edu).