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Tuesday, January 30 • 10:20am - 10:40am
SYMPOSIA-09: Bet Hedging in an Era of Rapid Change: Protecting Wildlife by “Conserving Nature’s Stage”

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AUTHORS. Kimberly R. Hall, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT. As attention to the threat of climate change has increased, many tools and frameworks have been developed to help us predict and plan for changes in wildlife and habitats.  As we move ahead with cutting-edge methods that allow us to link diverse drivers of change with the complex dynamics of populations, we also compound the uncertainties in the science that supports our management strategies.  Further, our efforts to use these methods to evaluate risks are typically hindered by a lack of data for all but a subset of well-studied species.  As a complement to these targeted research approaches, The Nature Conservancy has developed an approach for identifying places that are important for current biodiversity, and that we hypothesize will act as biodiversity strongholds as conditions change, based on relatively static abiotic and biotic variables. Developed with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the “Conserving Nature’s Stage” approach provides tools to help identify potential networks of natural areas that capture the full range of underlying site conditions (e.g., geology, soil texture, elevation).  Using this variation in geomorphology as a framework, we then identify resilient sites, which are characterized by more complex topography, and higher local connectivity than nearby areas. A final step assesses regional connectivity patterns, including connectivity across climate gradients.  CNS analyses have been completed for the eastern half of the US, with the Great Lakes region completed in late 2017, and the rest of the central US nearing completion.  I will review the science behind each of the CNS components, show many of these data products, and describe recent applications in conservation planning.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 10:20am - 10:40am CST