Are Threats the Connection? Linking Cultural and Natural Resource Conservation

Madeline Brown, Whittaker Schroder, Timothy Murtha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the recent values placed on integrating cultural resources into natural resource landscape conservation design, cultural resources are difficult to define, challenging to manage, are not integrated into analysis and planning until natural resource priorities are established, and face complex threats which are not fully understood. In this paper, we focus on how practitioners define threats to cultural resources through successive freelists, outlining eight categories in order to better align cultural resources with landscape-scale conservation design in North America. Identifying and understanding threat perceptions to cultural resources will improve their management and conservation. We find that although some practitioners recognise both direct and indirect threats, many clearly focus management decisions on direct threats such as the physical degradation of cultural resources. Indirect threats, including climate change or lack of funding, are also identified, but transcend daily management practice. While integrating cultural and natural resource conservation is critical, we need core studies to establish preservation priorities and shared definitions and identify key threats facing resources. We conclude that one potential path toward integrated conservation could be established by defining the shared threats facing both natural and cultural resources and explicitly developing a foundational model of threats for cultural resource conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalConservation and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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