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Ecological context for the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative

September 25, 2012

The North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) encompasses the temperate coastal rainforest and extends from the coastal mountains to the near-shore from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to Bodega Bay, California. The area spans multiple agency, state, and international boundaries over more than 22 degrees of latitude, including a wide range of type and intensity of human land-use activities. Development of NPLCC goals and administrative structures will be facilitated by a shared ecological context for discussing this expansive, diverse, and complex landscape. In support of activities to organize the NPLCC, we provided conceptual models to describe the ecological structure of the NPLCC. Recognizing that the boundaries of LCCs were primarily based on Level 2 of the hierarchical ecoregional classification of Omernik (Comission for Environmental Cooperation 1997), we used nested Level 3 ecoregions to define subregions within the NPLCC. Rather than develop conceptual models for all nine constituent subregions, we opted to consider five groups: Puget-Georgia Basin Lowland and Willamette Valley, Alaska-British Columbia Coast, Alaska-British Columbia Mountains, Klamath-Olympic-Cascade Mountains, and Washington-Oregon-Northern California Coast. At the conclusion of the project, we felt that the close relationship between mountain and coastal areas support combining them to create three major subregions: Alaska-British Columbia coast and mountains, Washington-Oregon-Northern California coast and mountains, and the lowlands of the Georgia Basin and Willamette Valley. The following figures present the Omernik Level 3 ecoregions comprising the NPLCC; how the ecoregions were grouped to create conceptual models; and conceptual models for each group. The five models each consist of a table listing resources, stressors, potential climate change impacts; a landcover map; and a cartoon to summarize the table and evoke the landscape. A final figure summarizes resources, stressors, and climate change impacts that are common across the NPLCC.