Skip to main content

Florida Conservation Blueprint

Wide shot of a green space with grasses and trees surrounded by water.

Florida’s natural systems are being impacted by multiple environmental stressors at any given time, and the degree to which these stressors threaten our ecosystems grows year after year. Things such as population growth, climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, land use change, an increasing number of invasive species, and sea level rise, create risks to our resources every day, and with the state population projected to grow to over 33 million residents by 2070, those risks show no signs of slowing down. With growing risks comes a growing need to expand conservation efforts across larger scales, cross boundaries, join with multiple partners, and to take on new science-based planning. The FWC and partners have created various products and tools to address these challenges at a landscape-scale, including the Florida Conservation Blueprint (Blueprint).  

The Blueprint serves as a foundational resource for the FWC and partners to successfully implement conservation at an impactful landscape scale. It is a spatial plan that identifies shared conservation priorities across Florida and incorporates strategies from a suite of partners, including Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and University of Florida (UF). By using this resource, we can focus our collaborative conservation efforts in targeted locations and ecosystems where efforts will have the greatest conservation benefit. The Blueprint supports spatial planning to inform conservation actions and resource allocation. The Blueprint also accounts for various threats to Florida’s natural resources, such as future land use change through urban growth projections and sea level rise. Incorporating these assessments inform on how to shape a more resilient landscape and a sustainable future for natural resources in Florida.  

The Blueprint can be used to inform and leverage conservation work including:  

  • Prioritizing conservation actions/investments  
  • Planning for natural disasters  
  • Developing incentive programs
  • Increasing success in securing grant funds
  • Streamlining regulatory processes  

The Blueprint is based on two main sources of information. The first is the Florida Cooperative Land Cover Map (CLC), an ecologically-based statewide land cover classification system created in partnership with FNAI. From the CLC, sets of similar landcovers (e.g., swamps, coastal dunes) are grouped into large ecosystems known as Conservation Assets, such as High Pine and Scrub, Coastal Uplands, and Freshwater Wetlands. Conservation Assets were selected to represent the biological and ecological features collaboratively identified as the most important Florida landscapes.

The second main source of information is the Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP), a decision-support database developed at the UF Center for Landscape Conservation Planning in collaboration with FNAI and FWC. The CLIP identifies statewide conservation priorities based on biodiversity, water resources, ecosystem services, and other natural resource values. Each of these natural resources was classified based on their importance to ecosystem function and added as a mapping data layer to the database. Each natural resource data layer was then combined into an overall priority map for the state of Florida using a collaboratively-developed weighting system. The final step of this process was filtering the CLIP priorities through the Conservation Assets from the CLC, resulting in the conservation priorities resource that is the Florida Conservation Blueprint.  

The Blueprint can be found on the Florida Conservation Planning Atlas. It will be updated as new/improved data become available.  

Conservation assets depicted in the map include: Coastal Uplands, Freshwater Aquatic, Freshwater Forested Wetlands, Freshwater Non-forested Wetlands, Hardwood Forested Uplands, High Pine and Scrub, Mangrove Swamp, Pine Flatwoods and Dry Prairie, Saltwater Marsh, Working Lands 1, and Working Lands 2.

Figure 1. The geographical distribution of the Conservation Assets throughout Florida that are represented in the Blueprint.

For more information about the Florida Conservation Blueprint, please contact Nicole Burns at or