The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set B      Paragraphs: Intro to Readers' Expectations    The Landmark  What makes a landmark?   Exercise 1 Quiz   Landmark should appear early    Exercise 2    A kick in the tail    A plan for writing landmark-final paras     Exercise 3   Exercise 4   Exercise 5    Exercise 6     Final Page.

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences

SET A: Paragraphs: The Maps Behind Them

SET B: Paragraphs: Using Maps to Meet Readers' Expectations

SET C: Paragraph Coherence and Cohesion

SET D: Sentences

SET E: Scientific Sections (including Methods)

SET F: Scientific Sections: The Discussion

SET G : Scientific Sections: The Introduction

SET H : The Paper as a Whole

A single prominent, landmark: the first expectation of paragraph structure

hIn each paragraph of a text the reader should be able to discern a single sentence that stands out as that paragraph's "landmark". As the reader moves through a series of paragraphs, the information provided in the various landmark sentences should stick in the mind and provide a frame of reference for understanding the text as a whole.

In the Introduction to a recent paper below, I have marked in bold the sentences that I consider to be the landmark sentences. Note that in the second paragraph, I think the landmark content is actually spread over two sentences. This weakens the paragraph's impact, and I believe it could be improved by compacting the two sentences as below:

"Consequently, recent efforts to stem habitat loss and declines in native species have increasingly turned to land-use planning at local scales (Steelman 2002) with numerous authors calling for greater integration of ecological principles (e.g., Babbitt 1999; Beatley 2000; Groves 2003; Radeloff et al. 2005).



Biodiversity Conservation in Local Planning

James R. Miller et al., 2008, Conservation Biology, 23, 53-63


In North America the largest populations and highest diversity of native species tend to occur in the most productive portions of the landscape, where humans also reach their highest densities (Scott et al. 2001; Miller & Hobbs 2002; Huston 2005). As a result urbanization has emerged as a leading cause of species imperilment in the United States (Wilcove et al. 1998; Czech et al. 2000; Brown & LaBand 2006). Commercial and residential development also threaten biodiversity on more marginal lands, including the landscapes in which many of our large national parks and wilderness areas are embedded (Hansen et al. 2005; Huston 2005).

Decisions regarding urban, suburban, and exurban development are typically made at relatively low levels of government, such as the county or municipality (Duerksen et al. 1997; Lawrence 2005). Consequently, efforts to stem habitat loss and declines in native species have increasingly turned to land-use planning at local scales (Steelman 2002). In recent years numerous authors have called for greater integration of ecological principles in land-use planning to improve biodiversity conservation (e.g., Babbitt 1999; Beatley 2000; Groves 2003; Radeloff et al. 2005). Ecologists and other environmental professionals have proposed a variety of guidelines for land-use planners aimed at protecting habitat and minimizing negative effects of development on biodiversity (e.g., Duerksen et al. 1997; Dale et al. 2000; Steiner 2000; Nolan 2004). To implement these guidelines, there exists a wide array of planning and land-protection tools, including zoning ordinances, subdivision- and land-development regulations, growth-management programs, and conservation-development frameworks (Bengston et al. 2004; McElfish 2004; Milder 2007). A growing number of publications detail the application of these tools in the context of biodiversity conservation and describe case studies that are considered models of effective practice (McElfish 2004; Duerksen & Snyder 2005; Michalak & Lerner 2007).

Aside from a handful of examples, it is unknown how pervasive recommended conservation practices are among local jurisdictions. To what extent do local planning departments address biodiversity conservation in their plans and policies? Do planners follow the guidelines offered by academics, natural resource agencies, and nongovernmental organizations? How widespread is the implementation of land-use planning tools to achieve conservation goals? To address these and other questions concerning the role of biodiversity conservation in local land-use planning, we surveyed planning personnel in 3 regions of the United States that have experienced high levels of population growth in recent years: the Research Triangle, North Carolina; greater metropolitan Des Moines, Iowa; and greater metropolitan Seattle, Washington. Our objectives were to gauge the extent to which local planning departments address biodiversity conservation and to identify factors that facilitate or hinder conservation actions in local land-use planning.