Resilience Stratified by Setting and Ecoregion with Regional Override, 2016, Eastern U.S. and Canada

Sep 14, 2016 (Last modified Jun 16, 2017)
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A climate-resilient conservation portfolio includes sites representative of all geophysical settings selected for their landscape diversity and local connectedness. We developed methods to identify such a portfolio. First, we mapped geophysical settings across the entire study area. Second, within each geophysical setting we located sites with diverse topography that were highly connected by natural cover. Third, we compared the identified sites with the current network of conservation lands and with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC’s) portfolio of important biodiversity sites identified based on rare species and natural community locations. Using this information we noted geophysical settings that were underrepresented in current conservation and identified places for each setting that could serve as strongholds for diversity both now and into the future. We prioritized among examples of the same setting using two categories of physical characteristics that increase resilience. The first, landscape diversity, refers to the number of microhabitats and climatic gradients available within a given area. Landscape diversity is measured by counting the variety of landforms, the elevation range, wetland score, and soil diversity. Because topographic diversity buffers against climatic effects, the persistence of most species within a given area increases in landscapes with a wide variety of microclimates. Local connectedness, the second factor, is defined as the number of barriers and the degree of fragmentation within a landscape. A highly permeable landscape promotes resilience by facilitating range shifts and the reorganization of communities. The study area includes the twenty two states of ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, WV, VA, KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, and MS in their entirety, as well as portions of OH, IN, IL and LA. Also included are three Canadian Provinces of NS, NB, and PEI as well as portions of QC. Scientist and conservation planners from those states helped with the development of these methods, the evaluation of datasets, and review of the results.
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The Nature Conservancy
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2016-09 (Publication Date)
Resilience Stratified by Setting and Ecoregion with Regional Override: .
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The Nature Conservancy
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