Defining Cultural Resources: A Case Study from the Mid-Atlantic United States

Madeline Brown, Timothy Murtha, Whittaker Schroder, Luwei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Integrating cultural and natural resources for large landscape conservation remains an applied challenge for landscape planners and resource managers across North America. When resources are considered at a regional scale, developing shared priorities, definitions, and metrics is an essential but complex process for successful conservation partnerships. Strategies exist for designing regional conservation models for natural resources, but methods for cultural resource conservation planning often remain focused on individual sites and buildings. Here, we build on our previous work with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to advance frameworks and spatial models for regionally integrated natural and cultural resource conservation design and planning. Specifically, we present the results of our survey of cultural resource specialists in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to better understand how cultural resources are defined, classified, and valued by this group. Methods from applied cognitive anthropology are useful for uncovering cultural consensus and more marginalized perspectives around resource management priorities, offering a clear pathway for integrating cultural and natural resource conservation. We conclude by restating a call for a National GAP-like research program for cultural resources that integrates diverse cultural practices, perspectives, histories, and values of communities for designing future conservation priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-59
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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