Conservation Grant will Help Southeast CASC-Supported Researchers Explore Forest Connectivity Under Climate Change

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The Southeast CASC and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative jointly funded a project at North Carolina State University to study how managed forests can contribute to landscape connectivity under future climate change and land use predictions.

A two-lane highway cuts through agricultural fields interspersed by large clumps of trees.

An aerial shot of the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway in Delaware showcases how forest ecosystems can be fragmented by human activities. Credit: Rick Darke, DOT.

(Public domain.)

Read the original news article posted on Globe Newswire here.

As urban centers continue to expand, wild places across the country are becoming smaller and more fragmented. This can have devastating effects on local biodiversity, as species with large home ranges are squeezed out and relatively stationary populations are isolated from one another. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) recently awarded researchers from North Carolina State University an SFI Conservation Grant to help understand the role sustainable forests can play in increasing habitat connectivity in the face of climate change. This project builds upon habitat restoration research that Tina Mozelewski, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University, undertook as a former Southeast CASC Global Change Fellow. Researchers will forecast growth patterns of SFI-certified forests in North Carolina under different climate change and human use scenarios, specifically looking at how connected or fragmented future forests could become. SFI has already identified industry collaborators who could use this information, for example to inform outreach to private landowners.

“This project represents an exciting evolution in how we think about connectivity and highlights how important managed and restored forests are to reconnecting the landscape,” says Mozelewski.

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