International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)

Department

International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Gregory Trencher

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for evaluating conservation policy from the perspective of integrating resilience, using Massachusetts as a case study. After an intensive literature review on the topics of resilience and conservation, five resilience-enhancing attributes were identified: biodiversity, stakeholder engagement, acknowledgement of climate change, multiple species or species interaction focus and ecosystem or environment health. The framework ranks the policies with respect to the effectiveness of following the resilience-enhancing attributes. Three Massachusetts-based conservation policies, Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA), State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP), were chosen to demonstrate the evaluative capacity of the framework. The evaluation gave equal rankings to MHMGP and SWAP for the integration of resilience into their policies. MESA received the lowest ranking of the three policies analyzed. This framework was designed as a tool that can be used for any type of conservation policy. It will evaluate and rank those policies based on their ability to integrate resilience. In turn, this can improve conservation policies through resilience against the negative effects of climate change.

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