Applying GIS and landscape ecological principles to evaluate land conservation alternatives

Richard G. Lathrop, John A. Bognar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Nowhere in the eastern United States is the conflict between the conservation of the rich biological diversity of existing forested landscapes vs. a continued expansion of suburban/exurban development more evident than in the case of Sterling Forest, a 7245 ha tract of land on the New York-New Jersey border. This paper reports on our application of geographic information systems (GIS)-based assessment and landscape ecological principles to assess the environmental sensitivity of Sterling Forest lands and to prioritize lands for conservation protection. This GIS assessment served as the basis of subsequent negotiations of a compromise conservation-development plan by a coalition of land conservation trusts and the land owner/developer. Sterling Forest represents a useful case study of the application of GIS technology by the non-profit environmental groups in successfully undertaking an independent analysis of a regionally important land use issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Forest fragmentation
  • Land suitability assessment
  • Open space
  • Sterling Forest NY


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