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  1. Private lands provide key habitat for imperiled species and are core components of function protectected area networks; yet, their incorporation into national and regional conservation planning has been challenging. Identifying locations where private landowners are likely to participate in conservation initiatives can help avoid conflict and clarify trade-offs between ecological benefits and sociopolitical costs. Empirical, spatially explicit assessment of the factors associated with conservation on private land is an emerging tool for identifying future conservation opportunities. However, most data on private land conservation are voluntarily reported and incomplete, which complicates these assessments. We used a novel application of occupancy modelsmore »to analyze the occurrence of conservation easements on private land. We compared multiple formulations of occupancy models with a logistic regression model to predict the locations of conservation easements based on a spatially explicit social–ecological systems framework. We combined a simulation experiment with a case study of easement data in Idaho and Montana (United States) to illustrate the utility of the occupancy framework for modeling conservation on private land. Occupancy models that explicitly accounted for variation in reporting produced estimates of predictors that were substantially less biased than estimates produced by logistic regression under all simulated conditions. Occupancy models produced estimates for the 6 predictors we evaluated in our case study that were larger in magnitude, but less certain than those produced by logistic regression. These results suggest that occupancy models result in qualitatively different inferences regarding the effects of predictors on conservation easement occurrence than logistic regression and highlight the importance of integrating variable and incomplete reporting of participation in empirical analysis of conservation initiatives. Failure to do so can lead to emphasizing the wrong social, institutional, and environmental factors that enable conservation and underestimating conservation opportunities in landscapes where social norms or institutional constraints inhibit reporting.« less
  2. The conservation field is experiencing a rapid increase in the amount, variety, and quality of spatial data that can help us understand species movement and landscape connectivity patterns. As interest grows in more dynamic representations of movement potential, modelers are often limited by the capacity of their analytic tools to handle these datasets. Technology developments in software and high-performance computing are rapidly emerging in many fields, but uptake within conservation may lag, as our tools or our choice of computing language can constrain our ability to keep pace. We recently updated Circuitscape, a widely used connectivity analysis tool developed bymore »Brad McRae and Viral Shah, by implementing it in Julia, a high-performance computing language. In this initial re-code (Circuitscape 5.0) and later updates, we improved computational efficiency and parallelism, achieving major speed improvements, and enabling assessments across larger extents or with higher resolution data. Here, we reflect on the benefits to conservation of strengthening collaborations with computer scientists, and extract examples from a collection of 572 Circuitscape applications to illustrate how through a decade of repeated investment in the software, applications have been many, varied, and increasingly dynamic. Beyond empowering continued innovations in dynamic connectivity, we expect that faster run times will play an important role in facilitating co-production of connectivity assessments with stakeholders, increasing the likelihood that connectivity science will be incorporated in land use decisions.« less