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Improving Georgia Land Conservation Through Algorithms

By UGA Today

April 25, 2022

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Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) have developed an algorithm for assessing a tract of land's conservation value by factoring in variables excluded from other models.

"Conservation efforts almost always have a fixed budget," said UGA's Puneet Dwivedi. "Our model allows users to find the best parcels of land for conservation and maximize impact over time."

The model favors higher connectivity among parcels of land by imposing penalties on adjacent developments.

"As we added boundary penalties, larger parcels were selected with higher connectivity," explained UGA's Fabio Jose Benez-Secanho.

"Larger protected areas benefit wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and other ecological functions. The financial trade-offs of selecting larger parcels is relatively low when compared with the extra benefits they provide."

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