You are here: Home / News & Events / All News Items / Key landscape design initiatives receive funding for next steps

Key landscape design initiatives receive funding for next steps

With renewed financial support from the North Atlantic LCC, two instrumental projects will forge ahead in developing and delivering sophisticated products to conservation partners on the ground: "Designing Sustainable Landscapes" and "Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations"

On July 1st, 2014, the North Atlantic LCC Steering Committee unanimously approved the allocation of $340,000 to support the expansion of Designing Sustainable Landscapes and Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations, both of which are integral to achieving long-term conservation goals in the region.

Based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Landscape Ecology Lab, the Designing Sustainable Landscapes project assesses the ability of landscapes to sustain wildlife populations in the face of a dual threat: increasing development and climate change.

From crafting a sound framework for simulating ecological consequences of landscape-scale changes, to ground truthing the results at study sites in the region, the project team has made tremendous progress since its launch in 2010.

As of July 2014, the team had developed comprehensive habitat models for 30 focal species selected to serve as the best representatives of wildlife-habitat relationships in the region, including black bear, box turtle, and marsh wren. With complete data sets for ecological systems, aquatic networks, and decade-by-decade climate and development projections from 2010 to 2080, the team has been able to put its products to the test in a pilot study encompassing the entire Connecticut River watershed.

The continued funding from the North Atlantic LCC will allow the team to enhance models to help identify priority management and restoration sites, and to ramp up outreach efforts needed to demonstrate landscape design in practice and deliver tools to partners.

The Forecasting Changes in Aquatic Systems and Resilience of Aquatic Populations project, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, is using models to understand how aquatic species like the eastern brook trout will respond to changing conditions as a result of climate change.

By simulating changes in temperature and streamflow at the local catchment scale to predict impacts on trout habitat across the Northeast, the project team has developed a prototype for a web-based tool that gives partners the ability to evaluate alternative management actions, and make informed decisions to protect aquatic species.  

The continued financial support will enable Forecasting Changes to expand the models to incorporate the entire geographic area of the North Atlantic LCC, and expand the modeling approach to incorporate other aquatic species. The team will also be able to integrate policy considerations into the models so the final products reflect management realities for individual states.

Document Actions