Landscape Conservation Cooperatives are, by definition, partnerships. They were created to bring together diverse groups (federal, state and local agencies; non-governmental organizations; universities; tribes; businesses; private landowners) and individuals, with the common goal of large landscape-scale conservation. By bringing together several different partners, this goal can be more effectively achieved than if attempted by individual groups operating on their own. At times, these partnerships can result in innovative and even unexpected conservation opportunities.
Currently a new partnership in large landscape conservation is being forged; the Peninsular Florida LCC is partnering with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Florida, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Refuge Association on development of The Florida Strategic Plan for Sustaining Military Readiness through Conservation Partnerships. This new initiative will result in the development of landscape-level planning for Air Force installations in Florida that are in line with strategic conservation plans recommended by the Peninsular Florida LCC.
Essentially, this new initiative will add a valuable option to meeting Florida’s conservation needs; as Air Force installations in Florida create plans for base boundary expansions, there is an opportunity for significant land conservation in the landscape-scale buffering zones mandated around these bases. By working in conjunction with the LCC, these conservation opportunities can be effectively integrated into current and future Air Force land planning. Thus, the end result is a melding of the Air Force mission with meeting critical conservation needs within the Florida landscape.
This new collaboration is in the formative stages of what is likely to be a two year initiative and is a proof of concept activity that will be including all Florida bases. Eventually, this initiative could be expanded to Air Force installations on a national level. The implications of this collaboration are exciting news for large landscape-scale conservation, creating a new avenue for conservation opportunity.