Suburban, exurban, and rural development is a leading cause of biodiversity loss and natural resource degradation in the United States. In response to this threat, conservation development has been advanced as a way to combine land development with functional protection for conservation resources. This article provides a review, analysis, and ecological critique of the four principal types of conservation development: (1) conservation buyer projects, (2) conservation and limited development projects, (3) conservation subdivisions, and (4) conservation-oriented planned development projects. Each approach can contribute to landscape-scale conservation, with benefits that include reducing the off-site impacts of development, buffering and connecting protected areas, and conserving imperiled species and ecosystems. However, the benefits of these approaches depend significantly on project density, design, and context. Accordingly, this article offers a framework for differentiating and analyzing these approaches to conservation development for the purposes of research, land-use planning, public policy, and conservation practice.
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Vol. 57 • No. 9