Research carried out in the UK and US investigated land conservation from a multidisciplinary perspective. The primary focus is on conservation on private lands, and concentrating on the role of non-profit sector land conservation organisations. The work explores the role that an integrated decision-making framework could play in this sector, and lays an appropriate base for future development of such a framework, termed the Integrated Land Conservation Decision Support (ILCDS) model
This work is grounded in the fact that many land use decisions have greater long-term impacts that are more absolute than most other private and governmental choices. Evaluation of attitudes and values of mainstream populations toward land use and conservation was conducted through, focus groups, surveys and interviews. These evaluations were coupled with an investigative assessment of legislation in the UK and US.
Central to this study was the multifaceted exploration and analysis of the dimensions, differences, commonalties, and fragmentation of private sector land protection in the UK and US. By enriching the evaluation in this way, the study identifies both the absence of, and the need for an appropriate analytical framework for evaluating long-term private sector land conservation decisions. Interviews were used to examine the experiences of land trusts and to evaluate the validity and utility of an integrated décision-support tool, as the ILCDS model.
This thesis addressed, and realised, the objective of presenting and examining the ethics-economics-policy paradigm in the contextual setting of private land protection efforts of land trusts in the US and UK. The underpinnings that embody the paradigm as it relates to establishing the framework for the ILCDS model were mapped out for the purposes of identifying specific directions for future development of the décision-support model. The information represents a holistic assessment of the beliefs, logic and values embedded in the mainstream UK and US populations on land use and conservation issues.