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The Use of Ecologically Based Screening Criteria in a Community-sponsored Open Space Preservation Programme

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The Meridian Township Land Preservation Programme is the first community-sponsored, open space and natural areas preservation programme in Michigan using ecological principles in the ranking of properties for acquisition. The programme was established through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort that resulted in a model ordinance, operating procedures, guidelines for landowners to nominate their properties for consideration, and a set of criteria for property selection. The screening criteria include ecological value, natural or functional value, parcel size, surrounding land use, environmental quality, and aesthetic value. The criteria were developed to reflect principles established by landscape ecology and land conservation objectives to maintain a maximum degree of biodiversity and to develop, manage and maintain ecological infrastructure through management of protected areas. The programme is entirely funded through a local millage, which will raise nearly $10 million over 10 years. The target for acquisition of open space is approximately 10% of the currently undeveloped parcels in the township.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Resource Development, Michigan State University, 323 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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