In addition to providing habitat for the conservation of imperiled species, protecting critical wildlife areas will result in more open space for outdoor recreation. Recent surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that more than 60% of Americans participate in some form of wildlife-related recreation. Open spaces provide places where people can escape the confines of urban and suburban living. Retaining habitats in their natural state provides other benefits, such as reducing the threat of flooding, allowing for the biodegradation of environmental contaminants and recharging ground water reserves.
The Landscape Project identifies critical areas for imperiled species based on land-use/land-cover classifications and imperiled species locations. The maps enable state, county, municipal and private agencies to identify important areas and protect them in a variety of ways:
Prioritize conservation acquisitions: The Landscape Project is used to assist with prioritizing land parcels for purchase through acquisition programs such as Farmland Preservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refuge system.
Guide regulators and planners: Landscape Project maps provide those who administer land use regulations and state, county and local planners with a crucial tool used to enhance protection and properly plan development through the regulatory and planning process.
Provide citizens with conservation tools: Landscape Project products provide a transparent and readily accessible tool to help guide citizen actions to protect imperiled and special concern species habitat at the local level.
Guide stewardship of conserved areas: New Jersey has more than 400,000 hectares of open space. These lands are managed by a variety of agencies and organizations, both public and private. Landscape Project maps identify important imperiled and special concern species habitats on these lands. ENSP staff work closely with land managers and landowners to develop appropriate best management practices for the long-term conservation of imperiled and special concern species.