A Broader View of Conservation: Mapping Nature and Culture in Gillespie County, Texas




Weathersby, Joanna

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Working landscapes are cultural landscapes with natural value that provide tangible and intangible benefits to people. The development of working landscapes and other rural lands has been increasing, especially in regions experiencing rapid urban growth. Ensuring the future of working landscape benefits is especially challenging where private ownership is dominant. Available conservation options (e.g., conservation easements, cultural designations) rely on the preference of private landowners that also face a heightened incentive to subdivide or sell. To advance the conservation of working landscapes, this research developed a spatial inventory of broad landscape benefits (ecosystem services) beginning with a case study at a private ranch. The inventory was then adapted and expanded at the county level where benefits from cultural, regulating, and provisioning categories were mapped from publicly accessible sociocultural and environmental data repositories. Based on categorical and spatial variation in the mapped benefits inventory, four conservation targets zones were identified and framed within the context of conservation planning and tradeoff analyses.



working lands, conservation, GIS, mapping, ecosystem services, cultural services, NCP


Weathersby, J. (2023). A broader view of conservation: Mapping nature and culture in Gillespie County, Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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