Climate change and the resulting hazardous environmental events are having an impact on where we live. It’s the same for plants and animals.
The innate ability of plants and animals to plan, prepare for, and respond to life-threatening events and changing climate conditions is called climate resilience. Plants and animals deal with climate changes by shifting to suitable nearby microclimates. The areas that form the best route to life-sustaining microclimates are referred to as climate corridors.
Unfortunately, our landscape is highly fragmented.
While climate change is increasing in speed, nature shifts take time and require a connected landscape. It is difficult to understand how to support the daunting shift that plants and animals are undertaking.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) scientists mapped out the landscapes in the United States with the highest potential to withstand climate impacts.
TNC created a roadmap of connected natural areas where plants and animals have the best chance to move away from climate threats. TNC created a map packed with information that can guide us in conservation strategies to protect the biodiversity of the United States.
Where is the climate resilient corridor near you?
We invite you to explore the Resilient and Connected Network Map to learn about the areas near you.
For example, the Altamaha River, just south of Savannah, Georgia, is one of the largest rivers not dammed in the Eastern United States.
The Nature Conservancy and partners have worked to protect these 42 miles along the river. The Altamaha River meanders through the grassy marshes. Eventually, the water rushes past a set of protected islands. Egg, Little Egg, and Wolf Islands (5,126 acres) are National Wildlife Refuge Lands. They are wildly beautiful and a sanctuary for local and migratory birds. Thanks to TNC for this map to help us get better connected to these wild places.
The good news is that there are climate-resilient habitats across the country.
TNC identified 46 areas covering 33% of the continental United States. Currently, 44% of this land is protected and will not be developed. This leaves 56% which could be commercially developed. It benefits us all to understand these climate-resilient lands and to protect and expand them. The TNC map is easy to use to learn about existing climate-resilient lands and a solid starting point for conservation efforts. There are many conservation strategies. Some of the conservation strategies are improved land management, road crossing migration, and supporting or teaming up with others committed to nature conservation.
To increase climate-resistant corridors we need to build many more natural crossings.
OPL recently highlighted inspiring natural crossings around the world. You’ll be amazed by these wildlife bridges. The new Infrastructure Bill includes funding for wildlife road crossing projects along with transportation improvements. Combining improved transportation in a nature-sustaining manner has worked well in many cases. We are hopeful that we do indeed take this step.
Protecting biodiversity by providing safe places for nature to thrive also benefits people with clean drinking water, carbon storage that fights climate change, and safeguarding beautiful landscapes to soothe the soul.
It is worth our time and energy. Jump in and explore the area near you. If we expand our climate-resilient corridors, we can position the United States for a better future. To learn more about climate-resilient lands near you, explore the Resilient and Connected Landscapes by The Nature Conservancy.
Explore our OPL INSIGHT: Wildlife Crossings Around the World to virtually visit some of the amazing natural crossings helping our plants and animals survive.