Hosting Organization:  

 

Informing adaptation strategies for maintaining landscape connectivity for Northern Rockies wildlife in the face of climate change

Principal Investigator(s): 
PI: Steven Hostetler (USGS, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center) swhostet@usgs.gov; (Project Contacts: Judy O’Dwyer, Branch Chief, Operations & Communications, jodwyer@usgs.gov)
Co-Investigator(s): 
Meredith McClure (Center for Large Landscape Conservation), Bray J. Beltrán (Heart of the Rockies Initiative); Yvette Converse & Tom Olliff (Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative); John Pierce (WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, WGA Crucial Habitat Initiative Technical Team); Reed Kuennen (USFS Flathead National Forest); John Waller (NPS Glacier National Park); Deb O’Neill (Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks); Michael Whitfield (Heart of the Rockies Initiative); Melly Reuling (Rocky Mountain Partner Forum, Center for Large Landscape Conservation); Rob Ament (Center for Large Landscape Conservation)

Establishing connections among natural landscapes is the most frequently recommended strategy for adapting management of natural resources in response to climate change. The U.S. Northern Rockies still support a full suite of native wildlife, and survival of these populations depends on connected landscapes. Connected landscapes support current migration and dispersal as well as future shifts in species ranges that will be necessary due to our changing climate. Working in partnership with state and federal resource managers and private land trusts, we are working to 1) understand how future climate change may alter habitat composition of landscapes expected to serve as important connections for wildlife, 2) understand how wildlife species of concern are expected to respond to these changes, 3) develop climate-smart strategies to help stakeholders manage public and private lands in ways that allow wildlife to continue to move in response to changing conditions, and 4) explore how well existing management plans and conservation efforts are expected to support crucial connections for wildlife under climate change. Ultimately, this project aims to ensure that the iconic landscapes of the Northern Rockies and the wildlife they support endure in a changing landscape for the benefit of future generations.