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It is well-known and generally accepted that all undeveloped land in New England cannot forever be protected from development; nor would this be a desirable goal, as continued economic development and population growth are near certainties. For these and other reasons, private land trusts and government agencies generally use explicit criteria to prioritize their land acquisition activities and prospects.

Much land protection in New England and elsewhere, however, has occurred without substantial attention to such land use needs as fostering the best locations for where people will live, businesses will locate, and infrastructure will be built to avoid degrading resources. For the NE/EFC, this fact highlighted the need to review land purchase prioritization approaches, and to determine the desirability and feasibility of creating a tool to help land conservation be less haphazard with regard to these other land use needs.