The Open Space Council Blog


Check Out the Latest Version of CDFW’s Online Conservation Planning Tool

April 10, 2018


What are you doing this Thursday afternoon? Hanging out in Sacramento with a few hours to fill? Wonderful! We have the perfect recommendation for you.

If you’re unscheduled from 1 to 3 pm on 4/12, we invite you to attend the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s presentation of ACE version 3. ACE stands for Areas of Conservation Emphasis and it is an online tool designed to support conservation planning. Learn more about the presenter, Melanie Gogol-Prokurat, and the topics she will present by clicking here. This is part of a series of lectures by the CDFW’s Science Institute.

ACE, like the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network, summarizes key conservation datasets for your area of interest. ACE v3 serves up map-based data on biodiversity, significant habitats, connectivity, climate change resilience, and recreation at a state-wide scale.

Whether you want to learn what locations will be relatively buffered from the impacts of climate change or you’re interested in investigating species rarity and endemism, or you want to access summarized data about the riparian areas, oak woodlands and other important habitats in your corner of the world, ACE v3 offers you all that and more.

Does this sound familiar to the offerings of the Conservation Lands Network? That’s because ACE and the Conservation Lands Network share the same goal of supporting the protection of rare species and connected habitats. While ACE doesn’t go so far as to map a network of priority lands to protect from development and steward, it does score the landscape according to its ‘irreplaceability,’ by compiling a score based on endemism and rarity. This is analogous to the Conservation Lands Network’s “essential” and “important” areas.

So, what’s the main difference between the Conservation Lands Network? ACE v3 serves up data for the whole state of California, while the Conservation Lands Network maps and reports conservation data for the 10-county greater Bay Area. The Conservation Lands Network analysis and data are scaled to the Bay Area ecoregion. For instance, ACE v3 uses a unit of analysis more than six times larger than CLN ‘planning unit.’ These different scales are intentional; by matching analysis units to the intended scale (regional and state-wide), biodiversity trends and distributions are more easily visualized and the accounting of biodiversity elements (species richness, irreplaceability, etc.) is manageable. 

We’ll stop our side-by-side comparison here and simply send our kudos to the CDFW for a cutting-edge assessment and online tool of our state’s important landscapes!