Conservation efforts at the national and global scale are considering climate change more and more, and with good reason. Extreme weather events – increased incidence or prolonged periods of drought, cold, heat, or heavy rainfall – are impacting traditional ways of life around the world with greater regularity. While we often think of the Adirondacks as being a protected haven in the northeast, those who’ve lived here or visited for years know that we are not immune to a changing climate.
While our federal, state and local officials, environmental leaders, and climate scientists continue to search for solutions and implement plans that help us adapt to the effects of climate change, land conservation is recognized as a steadfast means of ensuring our natural systems and the communities they support will continue to thrive. The key is resiliency.
Very few places are immune to damage and truly resistant to the impacts of environmental stressors. This makes identifying lands that are more resilient to climate change, especially here in the Adirondacks, so important. Resilient lands tend to host a diversity of plants and animals and contain a variety of features, like mountains, valleys and rivers. A diverse landscape is better able to cope with stressors of a changing climate and recover more quickly after an extreme weather event, thereby creating greater protections for wildlife and humans alike.
It is important to factor resiliency into land conservation strategies in the Adirondack Park particularly because of its diverse topography and unique mixture of lands held in public and private ownership. Through private land conservation efforts, we have the capacity to build the Park’s resiliency by identifying and protecting areas with varying degrees of diversity and creating linkages with larger tracts of the Forest Preserve. From geology to elevation, protecting diverse landscapes ensures that we protect the broadest set of habitats and increases the chances that plants and animals can adapt to climate change.