Current Projects


The Florida Strategic Plan for Sustaining Military Readiness through Conservation Partnerships

Principal Investigator: Tom Hoctor, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning


The Florida Strategic Plan for Sustaining Military Readiness through Conservation Partnerships is a collaboration between several partners including the U.S. Air Force, Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC), US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Florida, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

Initiated in early 2015, the goal of the Strategic Plan is to identify a regional natural resources management approach to help minimize encroachment threats to Air Force missions, while identifying partner-leveraged conservation opportunities throughout the state of Florida. This builds upon existing partnerships that already exist between the PFLCC, Air Force, and various other federal, state and non-governmental conservation organizations, as well as existing data and work such as the Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP) and the Cooperative Conservation Blueprint. The intent is for the current Strategic Plan to be a pilot project, which may be expanded to include other regions and partnerships in the future. This is in keeping with the Air Force's expressed interest in being a conservation partner at the regional and state levels, and in having Air Force conservation priorities included as part of regional and state conservation efforts.


Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Analysis

Principal Investigator: Tom Hoctor, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning


The purpose of this project is to conduct a GIS-based assessment of black bear habitat and population re-establishment feasibility for Hillsborough County and relevant areas in surrounding counties. Work also includes review of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission policies and guidelines for moving bears between populations and establishment of new habitat areas, as well as a broader assessment of conservation and wildlife corridor priorities within the county.


Incorporating Climate Change into Landscape Architectural

Projects and Practice

Principal Investigator: Michael Volk, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning


Landscape architects in Florida are, and will be, very influential in addressing the impact of climate change on the built and natural environment. The knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of landscape architects about climate change will determine the extent to which they commit to design practices that mitigate climate change impacts such as flooding, temperature and precipitation changes, and salt water intrusion. It is important to understand what landscape architects' perceptions and beliefs are about climate change, to what degree these beliefs influence design practices, and what information and strategies are needed and relevant to landscape architectural practice today, and in the future, to help address the impacts of climate change on the natural and built environment.


Using data from a recent survey on attitudes and perceptions of Florida landscape architects toward climate change, this study identifies information gaps, potential strategies, and possible barriers to adoption of landscape design practices that anticipate, and plan for, immediate and future impacts of climate change on the built and natural environment. Products include development of a web-based resource for landscape architects in Florida and elsewhere to promote climate-smart design.


Florida Panther and Listed Species Habitat Priorities, Opportunities, and Threats Assessment

Principal Investigator: Tom Hoctor, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning


This focus of this project is to identify Florida panther habitat and corridor conservation priorities in the context of other focal species conservation priorities and other natural resource conservation priorities (including water resource protection) throughout the state. In addition, this analysis will entail comparison of panther habitat and corridor priorities to both protection opportunities and potential future threats.


Landscape Conservation Design in Southwest Florida

and the Florida Big Bend

Principal Investigator: Tom Hoctor, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning


This project is a cooperative effort between the Center, National Wildlife Refuge Association, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to advance a new regional planning concept for the USFWS called Landscape Conservation Design (LCD). An LCD involves combining spatially explicit analysis of biodiversity and ecosystem service conservation priorities with stakeholder engagement and outreach to help determine priority strategies and actions. The results of these LCDs are intended to inform regional landscape-scale conservation and land use planning decisions both specifically for National Wildlife Refuges but also related policy processes for other government agencies, NGOs, and private landowners.


In 2017, an LCD was completed for southwest Florida. This provides a synthesis of both existing statewide and new regional conservation priorities data to identify the most critical places for conserving the native wildlife and habitats unique to southwest and south-central Florida. The full report and appendices can be found on the Project Downloads page. An more detailed description of the project can be found here.


The Florida Wildlife Corridor Project


The Center is working with the Conservation Trust for Florida (CTF) and the Legacy Institute for Nature and Culture (LINC) on an education and outreach campaign highlighting the significant and pressing opportunity to protect wildlife corridors across the state of Florida.  The Florida Wildlife Corridor promotes the vision of an ecologically-connected network of public and private conservation lands eventually created throughout Florida, which was conceived of by Carlton Ward from LINC and developed in collaboration with Tom Hoctor. The Florida Wildlife Corridor project was developed to educate and advocate for the protection of the Florida Ecological Greenways Network, and specifically the Critical Linkages from south Florida to Georgia, though the other Critical Linkages from west-central Florida through the Florida panhandle might be added to these efforts in the future. 


In 2012, after two years in planning, the project debuted in the form of a 1000-mile, 100 day expedition from Florida Bay in Everglades National Park up the peninsula to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia. The trek was carried out by 4 Florida-based conservationists: photojournalist Carlton Ward, Jr., biologist Joe Guthrie, nature filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus, and conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt.  A film about the expedition by Elam Stoltzfus was aired on PBS in April 2013 in Florida and in June 2013 nationally. 


In 2015 the team completed a new expedition highlighting an east to west corridor, starting in Central Florida, extending to the Gulf Coast, crossing the Big Bend and Panhandle, and concluding at the Alabama state line. A public outreach campaign is ongoing to share information about the wildlife corridor and its importance as a tool for reaching statewide conservation goals. For more information, go to


Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP)
Principal Investigators: Tom Hoctor, University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning; Jon Oetting, Florida Natural Areas Inventory

The goal of CLIP is to identify Florida’s critical environmental resources, including strategic habitat, biodiversity hotspots, aquifer recharge areas and ecological greenways, using the best available science and statewide spatial data and to develop an iterative GIS database as a decision making tool for statewide and regional conservation and land use planning. This work is essential for ensuring the sustainability of Florida’s green infrastructure and vital ecosystem services as Florida’s population grows and land uses change. By identifying critical conservation needs, they can be incorporated into long term land use and conservation plans.

The latest version of CLIP was completed in 2016 and is available from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory website here. Additional updates are planned as funding is available.


Primary Navigation