Natural Areas

Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Natural Areas

Aerial View
Getty Images

Climate change is becoming a top threat to biodiversity

Warming rivals habitat loss and land degradation as a threat to global wildlife. Climate change will be the fastest-growing cause of species loss in the Americas by midcentury, according to a new set of reports from the leading global organization on ecosystems and biodiversity.

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Students In Mohave Desert
Brandy Dyess

Students tracking climate change through the Joshua tree

The Joshua tree sweep is part of larger vegetation surveys looking at the entire plant community as well as the lizard population in each plot. They will return to each one over the coming years to track changes.

Dedicated crews of local volunteers act as citizen scientists, doing the monitoring once or twice a week. Some drive all the way from Los Angeles to take part. High school and college groups have been involved since 2016…

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Cow
Clean Grid Alliance

Five reasons farmers love wind & solar

If we are going to reduce coal, oil, and natural gas — to save thousands of species from extinction and avoid significant agricultural damage and loss due to extreme weather – plus find ways to make family farms viable in a changing climate, we are going to have to rethink how solar and wind are compatible with our conservation and community goals.

Check out five reasons why farmers often embrace wind and solar. Land trusts can help communities understand that the alternative to gearing towards renewables is often going out of business, selling for development, and family economic stress.

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Fern Watch

Fern Watch

Just by monitoring the ferns on the forest floor, you can help League scientists learn how changes in climate may be affecting redwood forest habitats.

Help Save the Redwoods League track climate impacts in the coast redwood forest by observing Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum). This fern is common in the world’s tallest forests and responds quickly to increases or decreases in rainfall. You can help us track changes in these ferns in your local forest by joining our Fern Watch project through the free iNaturalist App. With your help we can locate habitat most buffered from climatic extremes and focus our conservation efforts in areas resilient to climate change.

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Western Snakeroot
Faerthen Felix

Contribute to Science

Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.

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Citizen Science
Tonatiuh Trejo-Cantwell

Citizen science programs, iNaturalist app, makes climate change real

Through its citizen science programs, Redwood Watch and Fern Watch, the Save The Redwoods League (a land trust in California) works with community members to help study where redwood forest plants and animals live throughout the redwood range, and track changes in the forest over time, including climate impact.

The land trust has a variety of programs centered around climate change research and uses iNaturalist to help with community plant identification. Check out the fern watch program

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Birdseye View Fall Harbor

Carbon markets conserve land, reduce climate pollution

Could your land trust do this?

Downeast Lakes Land Trust began evaluating its potential to participate in the carbon market in 2009 and entered a partnership with Finite Carbon in 2010. Finite Carbon Corporation is a forest carbon development company that partners with landowners to create and monetize carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets enabled a small, rural community land trust to conserve a large amount of land, protecting it from fragmentation and conversion to other uses…

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River Research
Milwaukee's Urban Rivers Land Trust

Connecting people

“River Revitalization offers opportunities for people to connect with Milwaukee’s urban rivers.  This connection to water and nature is central to our mission of protecting Milwaukee’s rivers. Community members help take care of land, open green space and trails.  This work connects neighborhoods with each other, teaches and encourages safe interactions with urban land and rivers, and helps restore our river systems…”

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Forest Trail Sign
Hopkinton Conservation Commission

Rural town, conservation groups integrate trails and conservation

For a small rural community their partnerships and land protection efforts are impressive. Check out their website to get inspired. 

Town forests, public conservation areas, connecting trails that create a Greenway, and conserved farmland, are some of the work the rural Town of Hopkinton, in New Hampshire, has made possible.

If you want to see their version of the famed Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace, or create one of your own, explore the Hopkinton Village Greenway. It’s a vision worth replicating.

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