The Use of Community-Based Conservation in Natural Resource Management: Case Studies from The Nature Conservancy of Virginia
Babylon, Ruth G.
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In March 2002, The Nature Conservancy purchased a 9,000-acre tract of land on and near Warm Springs Mountain in Bath County, Virginia. The purpose of this paper is to examine community-based conservation strategies utilized by The Nature Conservancy in two well-established Virginia reserves to determine the effectiveness of those strategies in the protection of Warm Springs Mountain. The Conservancy's previous work on Virginia's Eastern Shore and in the Clinch Valley of southwest Virginia reveals the organization's transition from a strategy of mere land acquisition to the use of community-based conservation in an effort to involve local citizens and promote a proper balance between economics and the environment. The community-based conservation model developed by TNC on the Eastern Shore and utilized further in the Clinch Valley works well for ecoregions that fit a particular typology. The paper discusses the differences between that typology and the factors affecting the protection of Warm Springs Mountain. In addition, the paper outlines the lessons TNC learned from both positive and negative experiences in the two earlier preserves and proposes how these lessons can be applied to the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve.