Scroll below for links to conservation planning resources, methods and tools developed or used by Applied Conservation. Shown to the right is the Health Summary scorecard from the turboCAP software, available via link in the section below.



Landscape-Scale Conservation & Conservation Action Planning

Landscape-Scale Conservation, A Practitioner’s Handbook.  A 57-page how-to handbook (PDF file) on the ingredients of effective landscape-scale conservation action, including the key elements and tools of Conservation Action Planning (CAP).  By Greg Low.

Competencies for Community-Based Conservation Leaders. A handbook (PDF file) developed by The Nature Conservancy to identify and screen for the core competencies required for community-based project leaders. Based upon the competency-based hiring approach of “Recruiting Architect.” By Paquita Bath and others, ~2000.

Conservation Action Planning – 2 Page Summary.  Conservation Action Planning (CAP) is a relatively simple, straightforward and proven approach for planning, implementing and measuring success for conservation projects. CAP was developed and refined over 20 years by Greg Low, Dan Salzer and others at The Nature Conservancy, and has been applied at over 1000 conservation projects.

Are We Conserving What We Say We Are?   Seminal article in Bioscience that has provided a foundation for CAP — identifying the key ecological attributes of every focal target, defining what constitutes viable condition, and providing metrics to rate their current condition.


  • All the basics…but no frills, turboCAP is a free, open-source approach and software to help project teams quickly and easily develop a credible first iteration Conservation Action Plan.
  • turboCAP is designed for… 1st time conservation project planning, community-based conservation plans, rapid CAPs, tight budgets or timelines, easy-to-use software for Health and Threat Scorecards, automated analysis of targets and threats most needing Strategy attention
  • turboCAP eliminates many confusing and time-consuming CAP steps while retaining the most essential elements.
  • Tanana Valley Watershed Association and partners used the first iteration of turboCAP to develop a Watershed Resource Action Plan (WRAP) for the Chena River Watershed in Alaska. See link: turboCAP Excel Workbook – No Macros – Chena River.
  • turboCAP was used to support the CAPs for three marine conservation areas on Maui in 2019 and to develop an ecosystem health scorecard for the Top of the South Island of New Zealand in 2020.
  • The most current, beta-test version of turboCAP software, which runs off Microsoft Excel, is now available at
  • Instructions, hints and worksheets for completing a “credible first iteration” CAP using the turboCAP approach (with or without the software) are available on the turboCAP website…

Original CAP Excel Workbook. This Nature Conservancy version 6b (still functional but no longer supported) runs off Microsoft Excel. It was highly programmed in Visual Basic by Warren Lockwood with many tables, forms and “wizards.”

Landscape Conservation Forecasting

Landscape Forecasting – Journal of Conservation Planning.  Article by Greg Low, Susan Abele and Louis Provencher on “Enhanced Conservation Action Planning” (aka Landscape Conservation Forecasting), featuring case study application working with BLM in the Bodie Hills, California.

Forecasting the Benefits of Conservation Strategies to Land Managers.  Keynote Powerpoint presentation (PDF file) on landscape conservation forecasting applications by Greg Low at June, 2011 ecological modeling conference in Portland, Oregon.

LANDFIRE Ecological Models. The interagency LANDFIRE program developed ecological models to represent pre-settlement conditions for all terrestrial and riparian ecological systems in the United States. Each ecosystem model consists of (1)  a quantitative state-and-transition model and (2) a description document.  Use and adaptation of these models is a key element of Landscape Conservation Forecasting.  Available at no cost from LANDFIRE — select a mapping zone to download model products for the U.S., including model descriptions and ST-Sim model database.

ST-Sim Modeling Software.  A new version of vegetation modeling software that uses the state-and-transition model approach (originally available as VDDT) is available as a free download from ApexRMS.

Conservation Gateway.  Link to Nature Conservancy website which provides varied information and reports on Landscape Conservation Forecasting.