Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Thomas C. Edwards
Thomas C. Edwards
The Colorado Plateau provides numerous sources of energy, particularly natural oil and gas. This energy potential is being actively extracted for consumption on both public and private lands. Elements of biodiversity (e.g., listed and sensitive plant and animal species) are distributed among all land tenures, yet the laws protecting them can vary depending if they occur on public, private, or tribal land. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the geographic ranges of threatened, endangered, and sensitive species and their relationship to land ownership to preserve habitat and conserve species populations. I developed species distribution models (SDMs) to examine the predicted geographic range of 29 rare flowering plant species in the Colorado Plateau. In addition, I used a geographic information system (GIS) and conservation planning software, Marxan, to examine how financial cost, oil and gas development, oil and gas potential, and land ownership affect plant conservation and energy extraction targets. I found that predicted rare flowering plant habitat significantly overlaps oil and gas development and potential. In this study, it was found that proper conservation targets regarding these plants could be achieved on public and tribal lands and in locations that minimize impacts on oil and gas development and extraction.
Carrell, Joshua, "Conservation Conflict: Rare Plant Conservation and Energy Development and Potential in the Colorado Plateau" (2022). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8545.
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