Creatively communicating conservation complexity
Designing agroforestry practices to achieve multiple objectives can be a challenging task; often requiring resource professionals to scour numerous and diverse resources for scientific-based design information. To simplify this task, the recently released publication Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways synthesizes over 1400 research articles into easy-to-understand rules-of-thumb for planning and designing buffers and other linear agroforestry practices. Over 80 illustrated guidelines describe specific ways that a vegetative buffer can be applied to protect soil, improve air and water quality, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, produce economic products, provide recreational opportunities or beautify the landscape. Buffers and other agroforestry practices designed to achieve multiple objectives however, can result in complex conservation systems that can be challenging to communicate with landowners. Visual simulations offer a way to illustrate design alternatives so that landowners can easily understand this complexity. The CanVis Visual Simulation Kit provides image-editing software that can be used to create photo-realistic simulations of proposed agroforestry design and management scenarios. The communicative and non-threatening nature of simulations encourages landowners to invest time in the design process and offer feedback on alternatives, encouraging adoption and long-term support for the final action. Together, Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways and CanVis can be effectively used to design and communicate complex agroforestry systems that simultaneously satisfy multiple objectives.