Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nadeau, C. P., A. K. Fuller, and D. L. Rosenblatt. 2015. Climate-smart management of biodiversity. Ecosphere. 6:art91–art91.


Climate change is expected to have major ecological impacts. Hence, wildlife management agencies and conservation organizations need to adapt management plans to include the potential effects of climate. Here, we use a spatial climate change vulnerability assessment to (1) map the potential vulnerability of terrestrial biodiversity to climate change in the northeastern United States and (2) provide guidance on how and where management actions for biodiversity (e.g., invasive species removal, herbivore control, open-space planning) could provide long-term benefits under climate change (i.e., climate-smart management considerations). In the northeastern United States, biodiversity is expected to be most vulnerable on the Delmarva Peninsula and at many locations that occur within the upper 10% of elevations, despite moderate climate change predictions in many of these regions. Biodiversity is expected to be least vulnerable in New York and the New England states, despite expectations that the climate will change more in these states relative to other states. Maps of our climate-smart management considerations suggest that: (1) high topoclimate diversity could moderate the effects of climate change across 50% of the region, allowing future management actions that are implemented across multiple topoclimates to provide a long-term benefit to biodiversity; (2) increasing local landscape connectivity (i.e., decreasing local landscape resistance) in conjunction with other management actions could increase the benefit of future management actions across 20% of the region; and (3) management actions across 23% of the region could provide long-term benefits by promoting short-term population persistence that provides a source population capable of moving in the future. Our climate-smart management considerations are unique in that they identify specific landscape features to modify or utilize to help ensure the long-term benefit of management actions already in use (or planned to be used in the future) under climate change. We do not suggest entirely new management actions. We simply provide guidance on how and where to implement management actions. Hence, management agencies should be able to incorporate our climate-smart management considerations into their management plans without making drastic changes to their approach to biodiversity conservation.