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November 23, 2021

Climate Change Refugia for Landscape Conservation

Date: December 3, 2021, from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

Speaker: Toni Lyn Morelli, Research Ecologist, USGS Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

As global temperatures increase and precipitation patterns change, the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident. One landscape conservation approach is to identify and protect climate change refugia, areas relatively buffered from anthropogenic climate change that enable persistence of valued physical, ecological and cultural resources. Climate change refugia can be considered in the context of a multi-faceted, long-term network approach as temporal and spatial gradients of ecological persistence rather than discrete points of stasis, a “slow lane” in which resident biodiversity and ecosystem function are protected from the negative effects of climate change in the short term, and provide transitional havens for other species and ecosystems in the long term. Recent work by USGS scientists and their partners have advanced this science in a number of areas, including hydrological and forest refugia. After years of discussion confined primarily to the scientific literature, researchers and resource managers are now working together to put refugia conservation into practice in the context of ongoing initiatives including America the Beautiful.

Kent Falls State Park
Kent Falls State Park in Kent, Connecticut. Groundwater from this area supplies nearby private water wells.