State fish and wildlife managers recognize that keeping landscapes connected is an important conservation tool. Yet there is growing evidence that the impacts of climate change are already altering the needs and behaviors of animals, creating new patterns of movement throughout the landscape. Staff from the Center recently contributed to a new toolkit offering guidance on protecting wildlife movement and corridor habitat in the face of a changing climate.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) has created a new resource for fish and wildlife planners and managers working on the frontlines of conservation in all 50 states. Its Connectivity & Climate Change Toolkit provides information, tools, and resources critical to understanding and deploying climate adaptation strategies related to landscape connectivity.
A working group of state wildlife biologists and conservation experts from nonprofit organizations was assembled to develop the toolkit. Among the contributors was the Center for Large Landscape Conservation’s Senior Conservationist Rob Ament, who co-authored sections on funding and policy considerations with ARC Solutions Executive Director Renee Callahan.
“We know that landscape connectivity is a critical component of ensuring healthy ecosystems, but climate change can be a game-changer when it comes to planning,” says Ament. “In order to maximize the benefits of connectivity, fish and wildlife managers must stay a step ahead of climate change impacts by allowing species to move freely in response to changing environmental factors and habitats.”
Ament explains that, for example, rising temperatures might impact where and when a certain species can find food. Also, as streams heat up, dams and other fish passage barriers can prohibit aquatic species from reaching cooler waters.
“Having a strategy to address these situations might be key to conserving wildlife and fish populations over the long term,” says Ament.
The 56-page toolkit supplies users with information and case studies, along with a variety of tools and resources including numerous links for further reading. Its potential impact is significant, as it will help guide all 50 state wildlife agencies and their partners as they seek to address landscape connectivity in the context of climate change.
View and Download the Toolkit here