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Interactive map makes conservation planning easier

Screen capture highlighting some of the features for the Forest Legacy interactive map.

WASHINGTON — Land conservation professionals have a new tool to make conservation planning easier. The Forest Service has created an interactive map highlighting conserved lands throughout the United States.

Initially developed to show the locations and features of projects conserved via the Forest Legacy program, the map content was expanded to include lands conserved by state, private, and other federal partners. This makes it easy to see how lands proposed for conservation connect with other already-conserved properties and helps land protection professionals better prioritize future projects.

“This tool makes it easy to see how a project complements other conservation projects,” said Forest Legacy program manager Scott Stewart. “Land protection professionals can see the results of their work and plan proposed work in a larger environmental and strategic context.”

Users can see pictures of and read about specific Forest Legacy projects by clicking on a property and reading the summary that pops up.

The interactive map also includes a variety of base maps and data layers, such as important bird areas and wild and scenic rivers, which allows users to create their own maps. The tool also allows users to search the web and incorporate other data layers.

“This makes it very powerful,” said Stewart. “Even users with limited GIS skills can use this tool to scope projects and make maps.”