Integrated Policy and Planning for Connectivity Conservation
Ecological connectivity—the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on earth—is fundamental for biodiversity conservation in the 21st century. In a rapidly warming world, isolated protected areas will be unable to provide for species’ needs on their own. Innovative policies are needed to maintain and restore connectivity across working landscapes bisected by roads, urban development, and other barriers to species movement. However, connectivity conservation presents significant challenges for policy and practice. Land uses that enable or impede connectivity are shaped by policies associated with different sectors(e.g., forestry and agriculture) and levels of government. Integrated approaches to connectivity policy and planning are therefore important but understudied. To address this gap, this project uses a multi-level comparative analysis to examine integrated policy and planning for connectivity conservation in Kenya, Romania, and Vermont, U.S.A. The findings highlight the importance of: legal frameworks that are coherent with goals for connectivity, policy frames and administrative policies that support cross-sectoral coordination, and collaborative networks that link actors across scales.