Supporting Conservation Planning for Landscapes in the Southwest

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Changes in temperature and precipitation due to climate change (and associated droughts, wildfires, extreme storms etc.) threaten important water sources, forests, wildlife habitat, and ecosystems across the Southwest and throughout the entire U.S. These threats cross political and man-made boundaries and therefore need to be addressed at larger landscape-level and regional scales. “Landscape conservation design” is one method that can be used by land and resource managers to support large scale conservation and ensure that small scale and local actions contribute to a landscape level vision. The Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) is working to develop a shared vision for conservation action in the Southwest through a collaborative process to identify shared conservation goals, stressors and vulnerabilities across Southwest landscapes, and potential management responses to changing climatic conditions.

Through this project, the Southwest Climate Science Center will support the Desert LCC in their efforts to collect data and information about important Southwest resources, create scenarios of the future that include the effects of climate change and other landscape stressors on important resources, and develop a list of possible collaborative adaptation responses that are useful and implementable by partners. The Desert LCC will be hosting initial workshops to bring together regional partners to incorporate existing information and ideas into a current assessment of resource conditions and facilitating broad stakeholder participation in the landscape conservation design process in pilot areas across the Southwest. The Desert LCC will use these workshops to develop reports that will include a prioritization of science needed to support future landscape conservation design work, and recommendations for filling these information gaps.

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