Connectivity conservation is particularly important in the face of climate change, as the primary means by which wildlife respond to climate change is to adjust their geographic ranges to track shifting areas of climatic suitability.
As the climate has warmed over the past century, the ranges of diverse species have begun moving upward in both elevation and latitude. These kinds of shifts will become even more important over the coming century as climate change becomes more severe. Because landscapes are increasingly fragmented by human activities, providing a connected network of habitats for wildlife to move through as conditions change will help conserve biodiversity into the future.
The Working Group is conducting a comprehensive suite of analyses aimed at identifying habitat and linkage areas that will be most likely to continue providing connectivity as climate changes, and to accommodate climate-driven shifts in species ranges. Our first analysis looked at climate-connectivity at the statewide scale to help us understand broad patterns. We then stepped down our analysis to a finer scale in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion and the transboundary region of Washington and British Columbia. Links to these products (and additional upcoming ones) will be made available below as they are completed. Tools developed in producing these products are also available.
Washington Connected Landscapes Project: Climate Gradient Corridors
- Climate Gradient Corridors Statewide Report (August 2011)
- Climate Gradient Corridors of the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion (May 2013)