As an interdisciplinary specialty, conservation land development requires integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines and then harmonizing links between the disciplines into a coordinated and coherent whole.  Among those disciplines, ecology and economic principles unconsciously can be minimized during the crafting and implementation of conservation land development projects, in favor of an overemphasis on-site planning and landscape architecture.  That occurs because site planning and landscape architecture have historically been the focal point of land development.  As a result, typically, there is a pre-existing comfort by those in the legal profession with site planning and landscape architecture terminology.

Conversely, for those in the legal field, a weak-link often exists when it comes to ecology and economic principles—which is the foundation for crafting and implementing successful conservation land development projects.  The foundation of such principles involves terminology that is foreign to many land use and environmental attorneys’ common lexicon.

And so, a legal professional of use to its clients in the conversation development field is one that has mastered the necessary definitional and terminology framework of conservation land development.

The key economic conservation land development terms are:

  1. Market failure
  2. Externalities
  3. Public goods

The key ecology terms are:

  1. Biodiversity
  2. Ecosystem services
  3. Ecological integrity

By learning the above-terminology, a legal professional can maximize its value-add to clients in the areas of direct legal advocacy, oversight of all stages of land-use planning, and fashioning conservation public policy.  Over a six-part series to follow, each of the above terms, one at a time, with be explained so that the reader will come away with a working understanding of conservation land development’s definitional framework.