Collaborative Learning and Land Use Tools to Support Community Based Ecosystem Management
Collaborative Learning and Land Use Tools to Support Community Based Ecosystem Management by Chris Feurt of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (December 1, 2010). In an ideal world, all land use planners would be able to predict how development would change their community economically, ecologically, and aesthetically. In the real world, land use decisions are made by multiple stakeholders with divergent perspectives from different institutions—a situation that hinders the application of scientific findings and tools that could foster the adoption of an ecosystem-based approach to development. With CICEET support, a project team from the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve has developed a method to overcome these barriers. They used Collaborative Learning—a process that facilitates environmental decision-making among diverse stakeholders—to apply geospatial and visualization tools to the development of a conservation and land use plan for Sanford, Maine. The plan used a green infrastructure approach based upon community-identified priorities for preserving ecosystem services. The team also piloted a regional training on the use of GIS, CommunityViz, and keypad polling for land use planning based upon EBM principles. This presentation covered the Collaborative Learning methodology and, using the development of the Sanford Plan as a model, how Collaborative Learning can be used to facilitate community-based EBM dialogues. Learn more about the project and read the Sanford plan.