Quantifying Climate-Wise Connectivity across a Topographically Diverse Landscape | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
October 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Climate-wise connectivity is essential to provide species access to suitable habitats in the future, yet we lack a consistent means of quantifying climate adaptation benefits of habitat linkages. Species range shifts to cooler climates have been widely observed, suggesting we should protect pathways providing access to cooler locations. However, in topographically diverse regions, the effects of elevation, seasonality, and proximity to large water bodies are complex drivers of biologically relevant temperature gradients. Here, we identify potential terrestrial and riparian linkages and their cooling benefit using mid-century summer and winter temperature extremes for interior coastal ranges in Northern California. It is rare for the same area to possess both terrestrial and riparian connectivity value. Our analysis reveals distinct differences in the magnitude and orientation of cooling benefits between the summer maximum and winter minimum temperatures provided by the linkages we delineated for the area. The cooling benefits for both linkage types were maximized to the west during summer, but upslope and to the northeast during winter. The approach we employ here provides an improved method to prioritize climate-wise connectivity and promote landscape resilience for topographically diverse regions.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Gray, Morgan
Micheli, Elisabeth
Comendant, Tosha
Merenlender, Adina


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