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    How can ecologists be more effective in supporting ecologically informed rural land-use planning and policy? Improved decision making about rural lands requires careful consideration of how ecological information and analyses can inform specific planning and policy needs. We provide a brief overview of rural land-use planning, including recently developed approaches to conservation. Effective participation in land-use planning requires ecologists to understand trade-offs--for example, the need to balance a land owner's desire for a fair and predictable process with the "learn as you go" approach of adaptive management--and the importance of integrating local knowledge with landscape-level information. Four primary challenges require attention from ecologists to improve rural land-use planning. First is the mismatch between the spatial and temporal scales in which ecological processes occur and the scales and tempos of land-use planning. Second, ecologists must engage in interdisciplinary research to critically evaluate and determine how, if, and when ecological information influences rural land-use outcomes. Third, a comprehensive land-use framework is needed to better place ecological studies within a broader landscape context. Finally, ecologists have a key role in developing environmental indicators that directly inform local, rural land-use planning efforts.

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    Theobald, David M.; Spies, Thomas; Kline, Jeff; Maxwell, Bruce; Hobbs, N. T.; Dale, Virginia H. 2005. Ecological support for rural land-use planning. Ecological Applications. 15(6): 1906-1914


    environmental indicators, exurban development, rural land-use planning

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