If you had endless supplies of time and money, conservation would be a no-brainer. You could preserve all the land you want.

Smart ConservationOf course, that isn’t reality. Open space resources are scarce so you have to be smart about how you spend what you have.

That’s what SmartConservation® is all about. Using our exclusive science-based screening tool, we can help you prioritize the specific parcels that, if preserved, will have the greatest benefit to your community’s environment and quality of life.

Have Your Cake

You can think of the SmartConservation prioritization process as a cake… without all the bothersome calories!

The bottom layer is ecological value. We asked a team of 85 conservation scientists and practitioners to identify conditions that could be used to assess an area’s ecological importance. They came up with 22 factors ranging from water quality to plant and animal diversity. We then applied those criteria to 58 counties in Pennsylvania using GIS mapping software. As a result, we can provide you with an in-depth assessment of your community and a sense of its value relative to others in the area.

The top layer is ecological infrastructure… in other words, how an area fits into the larger picture. By mapping nearby protected lands, important natural resources, and other factors, we can show you how areas might connect in order to improve habitat.

And, of course, you have to have the icing. With SmartConservation, we can add or emphasize a wide variety of other factors to reflect specific issues of local concern to provide an assessment of any parcel. For example, if farmland is prevalent in your area, we can add that to the model. Or, if you are particularly concerned about drinking water, we can emphasize that value in our analysis.

How Big of a Piece Do You Want?

With SmartConservation, you can assess land at a variety of scales… from parcel-specific, to a community, a county, a watershed, or a larger region.

Add a Side of Ice Cream

Choosing which properties to preserve is about more than ecological value. Many open spaces are important for cultural or scenic reasons.  Through our “Places of the Heart” process, we can help identify the places that are essential to an area’s identity and heritage and ensure that they are reflected in your priorities.

For more information about how SmartConservation® can help you set clear, thoughtful priorities for your open space program, contact Diane Rosencrance at or 610-353-5587, ext.211 .

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