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Landscape Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 547–556 | Cite as

Using topographic geodiversity to connect conservation lands in the Central Yukon, Alaska

  • Dawn R. Magness
  • Amanda L. Sesser
  • Tim Hammond
Research Article
  • 383 Downloads

Abstract

Context

Alaskan landscapes are changing due to climate change impacts. Maintaining or restoring landscape connectivity is a widely suggested climate change adaptation strategy because species are shifting their distributions to align with emerging conditions. Natural resource managers in Alaska have an opportunity to proactively design connected landscapes as infrastructure networks and economic development continue to increase in the state.

Objectives

We provide an example of strategic, multijurisdictional planning to maintain landscape connectivity at a large spatial scale.

Methods

We use geodiversity to model climate-resilient landscape linkages between conservation lands within and adjacent to a 59-million-acre planning area.

Results

The resulting landscape linkage design consists of as little as 1% of the planning area, but can connect over 64 million acres of conservation land allowing the Bureau of Land Management to leverage the current land designations to maximize the conservation value of the entire landscape.

Conclusions

Maintaining landscape connectivity is above and beyond the mandates and responsibilities of a single organization or land owner. Bridging institutions and partnerships, such as the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative, can facilitate the coordination needed for this type of multi-jurisdictional planning effort. The opportunity to manage proactively, rather than waiting for system degradation and then responding reactively, should not be undervalued. The implementation of this work will serve as a model for other relatively intact systems and moreover showcases the potential of twenty-first century models of conservation and sustainability.

Keywords

Connectivity Conserving nature’s stage Climate change Adaptation Alaska 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank B. Brost and J. Jenness for providing technical support and advice needed to apply their methods. We acknowledge the Steering Committee members and organizations that make up the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (nwblcc.org) and thank them for their enthusiasm for collaboration and for adopting landscape ecology principles into on-the-ground landscape conservation actions. A list of Steering Committee organizations is at nwblcc.org. We would also like to thank K. Miller, T. Haby, and M. Ethun for consultation on the treatment of landscape linkages in the planning process, and the BLM for considering these linkages in developing the Central Yukon RMP. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Bureau of Land Management.

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn R. Magness
    • 1
  • Amanda L. Sesser
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tim Hammond
    • 4
  1. 1.United States Fish and Wildlife ServiceKenai National Wildlife RefugeSoldotnaUSA
  2. 2.United States Fish and Wildlife ServiceNorthwest Boreal Landscape Conservation CooperativeAnchorageUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  4. 4.United States Bureau of Land ManagementCentral Yukon Field OfficeFairbanksUSA

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