A special section
of Conservation Biology highlights
the exciting new climate science behind OSI’s $12 million Resilient Landscapes
June 11, 2015 — Every
now and then, a big idea emerges in the world of conservation science with the
potential to change how conservation gets done on the ground. The June issue of Conservation Biology takes up one such idea – the notion that
in an era of climate change, trying to predict how thousands of species will
react and then conserve their habitat may be impossible, and that instead
“Conserving Nature’s Stage,” or the enduring physical features likely to
retain or attract species, may be more effective.
This new science, which
focuses on “geodiversity,” underlies OSI’s own Resilient Landscape
Initiative. “We are entering a new era of conservation, one where not all
the old rules apply,” writes Mark Shaffer, National Climate Change Policy
Advisor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in the issue’s forward. “The way
forward is unclear, and we need to be creative, flexible, and adaptive.” Read more.
Nature’s Stage could herald a paradigm shift in conservation. By
explicitly incorporating landform, bedrock, soil and topography, the approach
emphasizes the importance of geodiversity alongside the traditional role of
biology in conservation planning. The special issue of Conservation
Biology was the outgrowth of a three-day workshop organized by conservation
scientists that included Paul Beir, Mac Hunter and Mark Anderson and that led
to the development of the ten published papers. An overview of those
papers by Beir, Hunter and Anderson is available here: See the attached for a brief summary by The Nature Conservancy of the workshop
and papers (PDF).
reducing emissions is the overarching need of our time, determining what places
can provide refuge for wildlife as the climate warms remains a critical and
daunting challenge. To meet this challenge, OSI is translating new
science based on geodiversity developed by The Nature Conservancy to help the
land trust movement identify and protect habitat that will facilitate wildlife
adaptation to climate change.
Through our Resilient Landscape
Initiative, we are targeting capital for
land transactions in selected areas of the Eastern US that protect exemplary
examples of resilient lands, and helping land trusts and other organizations
incorporate resilience science in their conservation plans. Our actions
will not reverse climate change, but together we can limit its impacts and make
conservation part of the solution.