Conservation Biology Along Electric Transmission Rights-of-Way: Problems, Opportunities, and Lessons
Ecologists and other natural resources scientists have helped us understand the problems associated with biological conservation, but the solutions often remain beyond our grasp. That is because the application of ecological theory toward practical solutions can be a curious alchemy of the biological and human dimensions of resource management science and politics. The problems encountered in the practice of conservation biology during the routing of electric transmission lines fall into 2 categories: objective fact finding and subjective decision making. Objective fact finding pertains primarily to the identification of significant natural features. Subjective decision making pertains primarily to the assessment of natural features values, impacts and mitigation. Many challenges emerge in the conservation of biological resources during the routing and construction of electric transmission lines. The truly complex issues are those which transcend ecology and wildlands to include developed lands and human values. Dealing with the multidisciplinary problems requires the conservation biologist to use new tools and perspectives.