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Western Landscapes

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are a public and private partnership established to protect North America’s natural and cultural resources and landscapes to sustain ecosystems, economies and quality of life.  The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives use a comprehensive stakeholder approach that brings together international, federal, state, and local governments, tribes, universities, non-governmental organizations and private landowners.

Sky Islands

Sky Islands (Miles Hemstrom)

LCCs were established on September 14th, 2009 by the Department of Interior to represent the local arm of regional Climate Science Centers.  These two organizations integrate efforts to address landscape-scale challenges related to climate, recognizing the complexity of issues and the need to work across landscape jurisdictions and political parameters.

LCCs accomplishments include vulnerability assessments, conservation strategies, population models, decision support systems and analysis tools.  By working closely with the Climate Science Centers, the latest climate data and modeling tools can be integrated into landscape scale conservation plans and activities.  In turn the LCCs provide the Climate Science Centers with information on species and ecosystems responses to climate change and the effectiveness of conservation actions.

“While LCCs are integral to climate change adaptation efforts, they are not climate centric” (Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, Frequently Asked Questions, 2012).  In fact, LCCs are conservation science partnerships with a proven track record of scientific expertise and technical dexterity when solving complex problems at a system wide scale.  Their fluency in applied conservation is a product of diverse stakeholder partnerships that promote collaboration and bring much needed resources to problems.  By creating a venue of reciprocal rights, accountability and mutually beneficial gains, the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives have managed to soften the traditional distinctions between federal agencies, state agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic organizations.  This approach begins to answer 21st century conservation problems at a landscape level beyond fictitious boundaries.

The heightened severity of drought, climate change, wildfire and large-scale habitat fragmentation are just some of the complex issues that are no longer solvable by using traditional methods of multi-agency systems with overlapping jurisdictions, duplicative activities and unclear processes. In an era of economic difficulties the opportunity to reform are approach with greater responsiveness, transparency and inclusion is at the core of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives success. 

Relevant Links: 

Climate Science Centers

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives


Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in the West: 

Authored by Luca De Stefanis, Institute For Natural Resources (2012)