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Climate resilience through science, practice, and public participation

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Enhancing both community and ecosystem resilience to climate change requires scientific research, practical interventions and public participation. I will illustrate these three interconnected approaches with examples from our work in California; starting with climate-wise connectivity research as one of the primary land conservation interventions employed to improve ecosystems resilience to climate change. This recent research includes analyses of climate space, protected areas, and habitat linkages developed in collaboration with local land trusts to ultimately conserve corridors across the famed Napa Valley and surrounds. I will also present key elements for successful corridor implementation derived from practitioner interviews, collaboration, and the literature that we fold into a framework for practitioners. This work reveals a disconnect between connectivity science and practice; too often research focuses on individual species connectivity modeling as compared to an emphasis on entire ecosystems that most corridor projects need to address. Challenges practitioners face included a lack of data for locating the best corridor sites, short project time-lines, and a lack of regulations requiring the protection of habitat connectivity. Those who were successful collaborated with scientists, garnered public enthusiasm for the project, and were often motivated to comply with regulations or required mitigation. Finally, I will share our strategic plan for a public education and service program designed to prepare “Climate Stewards” to communicate and engage in local efforts to advance community and ecosystem resilience as one path forward to climate conviction.

This talk is part of the CCI Conservation Seminars series.

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