Value of Conservation Planning

The Conservation Planning Tool supports conservation of land and water throughout North Carolina. The combination of long-range planning and the preservation of high-value natural resources is a particularly effective way to ensure continued prosperity and health of North Carolina's ecosystems and citizens. With this planning approach, communities can better visualize how natural resources add value, and use this information to put conservation opportunities in order of priority.

This can support development planning that meets the needs of both people and the natural world upon which we depend. Strategic conservation planning enables us to identify our most important natural resources and preserve an interconnected network of healthy ecosystems, and to work with communities in support of those resources and ecosystems.

Using the best data available to support planning can:

  • better avoid conflicts during environmental permitting;
  • preserve high-quality and attractive green spaces;
  • better design development sites that can increase property values and the economic competiveness of communities;
  • create nature-based tourism opportunities; and
  • improve the quality of life for current and future generations.

Protection of a functional system of essential natural resources can:

  • provide a balance to protecting land that provides resources consumed by humans (e.g., crops, wood products, seafood), and resources that directly benefit humans (e.g., recreation, wetlands, water sources, floodplains), with the protection of ecological services;
  • ensure the continuation of ecosystem services in each region that help clean the air and water;
  • continue to ensure that wildlife habitat exists and remains connected for movement of species, especially those area-sensitive species that depend on unfragmented habitats;
  • support North Carolina’s economy, especially the agricultural and forest products, seafood, nature tourism, and outdoor recreation industries; and
  • reduce the need for expensive storm water management, flood control, and restoration projects by protecting important water resources, including streams, wetlands, and riparian corridors.