Scientists Locate Natural “Strongholds” in Upper Michigan That Could Protect Nature in the Face of Climate Change
Identifying climate-resilient lands and waters to sustain biodiversity
The Nature Conservancy has identified a series of landscapes across Michigan that are predicted to withstand the growing impacts of climate change and help ensure nature’s survival.
As droughts, more intense storms, rising temperatures and other climate impacts threaten to destabilize natural areas across the United States and around the world, scientists believe these resilient landscapes are more likely to serve as habitat to a wide variety of plants and animals while also filtering water, cleaning the air, providing recreational values and other important natural services that people rely upon.
“This news gives us hope that – with a little help – species that will need to migrate in response to climate change will find good habitat in these resilient landscapes,” said Helen Taylor, TNC state director of Michigan. “If we work to keep these special landscapes intact, they will be more resilient to support the diversity of life for both people and nature.”
Taylor added: “These strongholds will be critical to all life as the stresses imposed by climate change increase. Resilient landscapes will provide better breeding and foraging grounds for animals and seed banks for many plants that otherwise might perish. They could also serve as essential sources of food and water as society deals with the threats of climate change.
The Nature Conservancy undertook a major scientific research project to map the locations of climate-resilient sites. Teams of scientists mapped the bedrock and soils that underlie patterns of biodiversity as well as the topographic diversity and lack of fragmentation that promote natural resilience. The results were combined into an index that identifies the places more likely to sustain diversity because they offer a wide range of micro-climate options within a connected area.
Currently we have completed four geographic regions and are working on completing the rest of the contiguous United States. For more information
Grounded – Read The Nature Conservancy Magazine feature that describes how as climate change sends species scrambling, conservation finds its anchor in geology.