Assessing Land for Climate Resilience
Across the planet, climate change is exacerbating already-critical biodiversity loss that is degrading landscape connectivity, habitats, and livability across species. Motivated by the urgency of this crisis, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) identified a network of conservation sites designed to provide resilient habitats, while supporting dynamic shifts in ranges and ecosystem composition. TNC collaborated with over 280 scientists from every U.S. state to develop and map a conservation network for the nation based on principles of representation, resilience, connectivity, and recognized biodiversity value, with each factor mapped to anticipate climate change. The results delineate a network covering 35 percent of the U.S. Because the network connects climatic gradients across thousands of biodiversity elements, and targets multiple resilient sites in every ecoregion, it could form the spatial foundation for targeted land protection and other conservation strategies to sustain a diverse, dynamic, and adaptive world. The results are being used to inform land-acquisition and land-management decisions by The Nature Conservancy, state and federal agencies, and hundreds of land trusts. This paper introduces its key concepts and shows how users can access the information via the Resilient Land Mapping Tool to inform their work.