FCG Partnerships

The Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning 

The Florida Conservation Group works in close partnership with the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning. This partnership is focused on ensuring that Florida achieves its wildlife, wildlife corridor and water conservation goals by protecting the land and waters that have the most strategic significance. We work to incorporate the most up-to-date scientific data to drive the conservation decision-making process through all aspects of the planning process, including regional landscape assessments, prioritization, property evaluations and management plans, advocacy for land conservation program funding and allocation, and working with a variety of governmental, NGO, and private landowner partners on a variety of conservation projects. This partnership is a core foundation for both the FCG and the Center to guarantee conservation action that is ungirded by strong science and the utmost land protection and conservation policy expertise. This partnership also includes work with the National Wildlife Refuge Association in the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge Conservation Area as well as on regional landscape conservation issues affecting Refuges across the state. The faculty and staff of the University of Florida Center for Landscape Conservation Planning conduct applied research on the relationship between conservation and land use and educate students in principles, issues, and solutions related to ecological and green infrastructure conservation and design. The research activities of the Center include five primary programmatic areas: identification and protection of wildlife corridors and ecological conservation networks; biodiversity conservation; ecosystem services (including water) protection and restoration; resiliency and adaptation related to climate change and sea level rise; and education for students, designers, and planners in relevant principles of landscape ecology, conservation biology, and conservation planning including GIS applications and tools.

USF Center for Lanscape Conservation

Common Ground Ecology

We are proud to partner with Common Ground Ecology Inc (CGE), an ecological consulting firm specializing in the conservation, preservation and management of Florida ecosystems. CGE’s core work involves performing ecological assessments of lands to ascertain the presence and relative abundance of natural communities, listed species and other ecological values. Their work informs land acquisition program applications, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Natural Resource Conservation Service priorities, as well as state protected species evaluations and permitting. CGE’s ecological planning and assessments have been used to support the acquisition, protection, and management of thousands of acres of land in Florida. CGE places immense value on landowner relationships; their discretion and ability to work with landowners on a variety of issues is of paramount importance to our work at Florida Conservation Group. Their focus on the conservation of the resource (e.g. a particular species, system, etc.) allows them to perform permitting and relocation projects that are thorough, honest, and accurate. This success and discretion are why clients choose to work with them. CGE works closely with Florida Conservation Group on Florida Forever applications, ecological evaluations, ecological planning and land prioritization. Their ecological expertise is critical for our on-the-ground work protecting lands.

Dr. Tom Hoctor

Tom Hoctor is Director of the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning at the University of Florida. Tom’s research interests include the application of landscape ecology and conservation biology to regional planning, wildlife corridor design, wildlife habitat modeling and policy, and GIS applications in conservation planning. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator on many regional-scale conservation analysis and planning projects in Florida and the U.S. His current projects include the Florida Ecological Greenways Network, the Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project, the Identification of Florida Air Force Installation Conservation Priorities project, and regional landscape conservation design projects in Florida and the Gulf Coast in collaboration with the Florida Conservation Group, the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tom has a PhD and Masters in Conservation Biology and Landscape Ecology from the University of Florida and an undergraduate degree in History and Science from Harvard University.

Dr. Belinda B. Nettles

Belinda Nettles is the Land Protection Planning Coordinator for the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning (CLCP) at the University of Florida and an adjunct professor in the Landscape Architecture Department. She holds a Ph.D. in Design, Construction and Planning with a concentration in Urban and Regional Planning, a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of South Florida.

Belinda’s work with the CLCP includes applied research with conservation partners throughout Florida on land use, regional conservation planning and ecology-based landscapes for urban residential lots. Her recent research focuses on climate-wise landscapes, ecological landscape design and land protection strategies.

Belinda’s research has also encompassed disaster planning for historic resources, including a project funded by the National Park Service that culminated in her co-authoring Protecting Florida’s History from Hazards: A Guide for Integrating Cultural Resources into Disaster Planning.

Serving as a liaison between the Florida Conservation Group and CLCP, Belinda provides FCG with up-to-date scientific data to drive the conservation decision-making process and ensure that protected lands have the most strategic significance.

Michael Volk

Michael Volk is Associate Director of the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning at the University of Florida. Michael’s work includes applied research on land use, regional conservation planning, and urban green infrastructure; the impacts of sea level rise on natural resources and coastal communities; and climate change adaptation strategies and information needs for landscape professionals. Michael assists FCG with mapping and analysis related to conservation priorities and projects, management of existing projects, and applications for grant funding to further the mission and goals of the FCG. He has a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida and a degree in Architecture from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.