Tag: Conservation Biology journal

Connect: Helping Animals Move in a Changing Climate

Imagine you’re on a long hike, and you are trying to get to a valley on the other side of a mountain. Do you take a gentle trail that leads you easily around it? Or do you hike straight up the mountain, braving waist-deep snow, frigid wind, slick rocks and risk of death?

It really isn’t much of a decision, is it?

Animals take similar routes when they migrate and roam. A mule deer or a lynx won’t waste calories or risk its life by taking a precarious route. To survive and thrive, they need relatively easy paths to move to feeding, breeding and resting areas.

Now animals face a new reason to move: climate change. As vegetation and climactic conditions change, many species will need to move to new ranges.

But how do they get to these new habitats? Will they find an easy route, or will they have to risk roads, inhospitable terrain, housing developments and other dangerous paths?

Questions like these are at the heart of what ecologists call connectivity: the degree to which a landscape allows wildlife to move from one place to the next. A well-connected landscape is one where animals can move easily. In a disconnected landscape, populations and habitats become isolated from each other.

A new paper published in Conservation Biology by Tristan Nuñez and colleagues from the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group provides a simple and straightforward method for land managers to account for species shifting their ranges in response to climate change, and to protect and restore land accordingly.

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Salmon Cam Returns

We’re pleased to return Salmon Cam, a live view of spawning Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

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