Patrick R. Huber

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States

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Publications (8)46.53 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Planning for safe passage of wildlife involves understanding the complexities of natural and human landscapes and incorporating connectivity assessments in local and regional planning. The present study describes a novel landscape analysis approach that was used in the context of municipal open space planning and regional land use and transportation planning. The project approach focused on two principles: (1) wildlife movement is not limited to formally managed reserves and corridors, but occurs across a gradient of land uses in the human landscape, and (2) that local and regional planners should be included in the process of identifying habitat connectivity needs and in turn incorporate connectivity in their own planning processes. In the first case, a species-specific combination of landscape disturbance and least-cost modeling was based on the concept that wildlife originate their movement from anywhere within suitable habitat and move in a least-costly direction. This results in a “least cost surface” of possible wildlife movement based on habitat preference and barriers to safe passage. In the second case, planners at two geographic scales – municipal and regional – were informed of landscape connectivity principles and their needs incorporated into the assessment itself. The least cost surface approach allows for the integration of modeled connectivity and disturbance with site-specific municipal planning activities. However, the potential for this type of local planning to be folded into local decision-making processes can be dependent on the interests of individual planners rather than being systematic in nature.
    Landscape and Urban Planning 03/2012; 105(s 1–2):15–26. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BioOne ( is a a nonprofit, online aggregation of core research in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. BioOne provides a sustainable online platform for over 170 journals and books published by nonprofit societies, associations, museums, institutions, and presses.
    Natural Areas Journal 01/2011; 31:234-245. · 0.71 Impact Factor
  • Patrick R Huber, Steven E Greco
    Nature 11/2010; 468(7321):173. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Patrick R. Huber, Steven E. Greco, James H. Thorne
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    ABSTRACT: Conservation planning and resulting ecological target identification require selection of both a planning area boundary and temporal baseline or reference condition. We examined the effects that these selections can have on resulting amount and location of identified conservation targets. A gap analysis for California was conducted using five different sets of ecoregion boundaries to identify and compare existing conservation shortfalls in major land cover type representation in protected areas using a threshold of 30 percent per ecoregion per type as the minimum required for future ecological viability. Another gap analysis was run for a single ecoregion using two temporal baselines (current and pre-1900) for the land cover followed by a comparison of identified conservation needs. We found that the boundaries of different ecoregional schemes affected both the total area needed to meet the per ecoregion land cover conservation goals and the spatial location of underprotected land cover types. Choice of temporal baseline also had a significant effect on the establishment of conservation targets for the highly human-impacted Central Valley ecoregion. To meet the given conservation threshold using a historic rather than contemporary baseline, a substantial amount of restoration is required. The results can help identify areas of both conservation needs consensus and those that vary widely based on the chosen planning boundary, as well as aid in the selection of appropriate restoration targets in degraded ecosystems. Because all landscapes are continuous in nature and planning area boundaries are discrete, similar results are likely to be found in analyses conducted in other regions. La planificación conservacionista y la resultante identificación de objetivos ecológicos requieren la selección del límite del área de planificación y del punto de partida temporal o condición de referencia. En este trabajo examinamos los efectos que pueden tener tales selecciones sobre el número y localización de los objetivos de conservación que se identifiquen. Se aplicó un análisis de disparidad para California, mediante el uso de cinco conjuntos diferentes de límites eco-regionales, para identificar y comparar las deficiencias conservacionistas existentes en los principales tipos de cobertura del suelo representados en áreas protegidas, utilizando un umbral del 30 por ciento por eco-región por cada tipo, como mínimo requerido para la proyectada viabilidad ecológica. Se corrió otro análisis de disparidad para una región individual utilizando dos puntos de partida temporales (la actualidad y pre-1900) en cuanto a cobertura de la tierra se refiere, seguido de una comparación de las necesidades de conservación que se identificaron. Encontramos que los límites de los diferentes esquemas eco-regionales afectaban tanto el área total requerida para alcanzar las metas de conservación, según la cobertura de tierra de la eco-región, como la localización espacial de los tipos de cobertura de la tierra sin adecuada protección. La escogencia de puntos de partida temporales también tuvo efectos significativos sobre el establecimiento de objetivos de conservación en la eco-región del Valle Central, altamente afectada por impactos antrópicos. Para alcanzar los umbrales de conservación propuestos utilizando puntos de conservación históricos en vez de contemporáneos se necesitan sustanciales esfuerzos de restauración. Los resultados pueden ayudar a identificar áreas con necesidades de conservación por consenso y otras que varían ampliamente según los límites de planificación escogidos, lo mismo que contribuir a la apropiada selección de metas de restauración en los ecosistemas degradados. En tanto todos los paisajes son continuos en la naturaleza, mientras los límites de las áreas de planificación son discretos, es posible que análisis similares efectuados en otras regiones generen resultados parecidos.
    The Professional Geographer 08/2010; 62(3):409-425. · 1.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fresno County is a rich agricultural area that faces rapid urbanization and farmland conversion. The county is participating in a strategic, multi-county planning initiative aimed at making sustainable and region-ally cohesive land-use decisions. To inform this effort, we conducted a farmland conservation assessment and identified strategic farmlands for prioritization in future conservation efforts. We identified environmental and human predictor variables that affect the viability of existing farm-land, used a geographic information system (GIS) to integrate them, and created a countywide strategic farm-land conservation map. We compared our analysis to status quo methods of prioritization and found that with our model the spatial output of highly valued farmland was shifted, narrowed and located adjacent to some of the county's most urbanized areas. These findings are influencing growth policies and farmland conser-vation planning in Fresno County. T hroughout the United States, land consumption and the conversion of farmland to urban development are rising (Heimlich and Anderson 2001). Nationally, cropland declined by 52 mil-lion acres between 1982 and 2003, while developed land increased by 35 million acres (NRCS 2007). Farmland loss to conversion and fragmentation can dete-riorate agricultural economies and com-munities, and contribute to other social and environmental problems (Schiff-man 1983). One aspect of this problem is the lack of long-range land-use planning processes to conserve ag-ricultural lands. Land assessment is a critical tool for the development of strategic plans that address farmland conservation, but many regions lack the infrastructure and resources to conduct them. Geographic information systems (GIS) provide significant opportuni-ties to improve land assessment and farmland conservation planning. This study expands current frameworks by integrating GIS into a landscape-scale farmland conservation assessment of Fresno County. Farmland assessment frameworks
    California Agriculture 07/2010; 64(3):129-134. · 0.81 Impact Factor
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    Patrick R. Huber, Steven E. Greco, James H. Thorne
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    ABSTRACT: Ecological patterns and processes operate at a variety of spatial scales. Those which are regional in nature may not be effectively captured through the combination of conservation plans derived at the local level, where land use planning frequently takes place. Conversely, regional conservation plans may not identify resources important for conservation of intraregional ecological variation. We compare modeled conservation networks derived at regional and local scales from the same area in order to analyze the impact of scale effects on conservation planning. Using the MARXAN reserve selection algorithm and least cost corridor analysis we identified a potential regional conservation network for the Central Valley ecoregion of California, USA, from which we extracted those portions found within five individual counties. We then conducted the same analysis for each of the five counties. An overlay of the results from the two scales shows a general pattern of large differences in the identified networks. Especially noteworthy are the trade-offs and omissions evident at both scales of analysis and the disparateness of the identified corridors that connect core reserves. The results suggest that planning efforts limited to one scale will neglect biodiversity patterns and ecological processes that are important at other scales. An intersection of results from the two scales can potentially be used to prioritize areas for conservation found to be important at several spatial scales. KeywordsConnectivity-Reserve selection-Conservation planning-Central Valley-California-Ecoregion-MARXAN-Scale effects-Corridor
    Landscape Ecology 25(5):683-695. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Government agencies that develop infrastructure such as roads, waterworks, and energy delivery often impact natural ecosystems, but they also have unique opportunities to contribute to the conservation of regional natural resources through compensatory mitigation. Infrastructure development requires a planning, funding, and implementation cycle that can frequently take a decade or longer, but biological mitigation is often planned and implemented late in this process, in a project-by-project piecemeal manner. By adopting early regional mitigation needs assessment and planning for habitat-level impacts from multiple infrastructure projects, agencies could secure time needed to proactively integrate these obligations into regional conservation objectives. Such practice can be financially and ecologically beneficial due to economies of scale, and because earlier mitigation implementation means potentially developable critical parcels may still be available for conservation. Here, we compare the integration of regional conservation designs, termed greenprints, with early multi-project mitigation assessment for two areas in California, USA. The expected spatial extent of habitat impacts and associated mitigation requirements from multiple projects were identified for each area. We used the reserve-selection algorithm MARXAN to identify a regional greenprint for each site and to seek mitigation solutions through parcel acquisition that would contribute to the greenprint, as well as meet agency obligations. The two areas differed in the amount of input data available, the types of conservation objectives identified, and local land-management capacity. They are representative of the range of conditions that conservation practitioners may encounter, so contrasting the two illustrates how regional advanced mitigation can be generalized for use in a wide variety of settings. Environmental organizations can benefit from this approach because it provides a platform for collaboration with infrastructure agencies. Alone, infrastructure agency mitigation obligations will not satisfy all greenprint objectives, but they can be a major contributor to the ongoing process of implementing ecologically sustainable regional plans.