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Data from: Impact of solar and wind development on conservation values in the Mojave Desert


Parker, Sophie S.; Cohen, Brian S.; Moore, James (2018), Data from: Impact of solar and wind development on conservation values in the Mojave Desert, Dryad, Dataset,


In 2010, The Nature Conservancy completed the Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment, which characterizes conservation values across nearly 130,000 km2 of the desert Southwest. Since this assessment was completed, several renewable energy facilities have been built in the Mojave Desert, thereby changing the conservation value of these lands. We have completed a new analysis of land use to reassess the conservation value of lands in two locations in the Mojave Desert where renewable energy development has been most intense: Ivanpah Valley, and the Western Mojave. We found that 99 of our 2.59-km2 planning units were impacted by development such that they would now be categorized as having lower conservation value, and most of these downgrades in conservation value were due to solar and wind development. Solar development alone was responsible for a direct development footprint 86.79 km2: 25.81 km2 of this was primarily high conservation value Bureau of Land Management lands in the Ivanpah Valley, and 60.99 km2 was privately owned lands, mostly of lower conservation value, in the Western Mojave. Our analyses allow us to understand patterns in renewable energy development in the mostly rapidly changing regions of the Mojave Desert. Our analyses also provide a baseline that will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan in preventing development on lands of high conservation value over the coming decades.

Usage Notes


Mojave Desert
United States