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Climate Gradient Corridors Statewide Report

Canada lynx snowtracks in the Cascade mountains.  Credit:  Mark Skatrud

Canada lynx snowtracks in the Cascade mountains. Credit: Mark Skatrud

The Washington Connected Landscapes Project:  Statewide Analysis presented a vision for a connected network of habitats for wildlife in current condition.  This climate-gradient corridor analysis and report adds a climate change lens to that assessment, by identifying corridors intended to improve the ability of wildlife and their habitats to respond to future changes in climate.

A key means by which wildlife respond to climate change is to adjust their geographic ranges to track shifting areas of climatic suitability. This ability to move as conditions change will become even more critical over the coming century as climate change becomes more severe. And yet, species will increasingly encounter human-made barriers to movement as they traverse fragmented landscapes. Increasing connectivity has thus become the most frequently recommended strategy for reducing the negative effects of climate change on biodiversity.

This concise report aims to provide an introduction to climate-gradient corridor models, which identify areas intended to facilitate climate-driven range shifts for wildlife; highlight broad scale patterns and insights revealed by the analysis; discuss important caveats and limitations associated with the results; and suggest how these map products might be appropriately implemented and improved upon by future analysis.  A more detailed overview of the methodology is available in Nunez (2011) and Nunez et al. (2013), available below.

Washington Connected Landscapes Project:  Climate Gradient Corridors Statewide Report

Climate Gradient Corridors Statewide Report – August 2011. (6.79 MB PDF)

Climate Gradient Corridors Statewide Report: Appendix A. Climate-Gradient Corridors and Focal Species Guilds Overlays (4.1 MB)

Climate Gradient Corridor Report:  Frequently Asked Questions (119 KB PDF)

Connectivity Planning to Facilitate Species Movements in Response to Climate Change by Tristan A. Nunez (2011). This thesis, produced in collaboration with the WHCWG, provides a detailed description of the climate gradient corridors analysis approach and results.

Connectivity Planning to Address Climate Change.  Nunez et al. (2013).  This peer-reviewed publication provides additional detail on the modeling approach.

Data Layers

Data layers are currently available on Databasin, an interactive online mapping tool, in the Washington Connected Landscapes Project gallery.  You must have a Databasin free account to view these files.

Data layers from this analysis are also available for download here in a zip folder:

WHCWG Climate Gradient Corridors Data Zip file. Warning:  this is a large download and requires ArcGIS to view.

This work was conducted with support from ARCS Foundation, National Science Foundation, University of Washington School of Forest Resources, US Department of Interior Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and Wilburforce Foundation.  Additional funding from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund provided capacity in development of climate gradient tools to facilitate this analysis.

Data layers are licensed by Tristan Nunez under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, and copyrighted by the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group with user constraints and guidance.