a1 Private Conservation Consultant, Rockville, Maryland
a2 Director of Strategic Conservation, The Conservation Fund, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate is changing and that the changes are largely due to increased levels of carbon emissions into the atmosphere that are caused by human activities. The recommended response from society to climate change involves two sets of activities: mitigation and adaptation. Adaptation includes activities that attempt to adjust or respond to changes to the environment caused by climate change. For wildlife, a consensus is forming around an approach to adaptation planning that would improve the ability of an ecosystem to resist dramatic changes to habitats; build resilience into the ecosystem to recover from extreme weather events and changes in temperature and precipitation that may cause increased floods, wildfires, insect outbreaks, etc.; and lastly build realignment into our ecosystems through wildlife corridors or other connections through matrix landscape types that allow species to shift their ranges and transition into new areas when the need becomes inevitable. This commentary outlines a climate change adaptation strategy for wildlife within an eight-state region (Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio) of the Midwest United States (US) focused on the design of an interconnected green infrastructure network of natural areas that helps refine future wildlife habitat conservation priorities while also providing other natural and human benefits to residents of the Midwest US. A landscape-scale green infrastructure network will be developed for this area within the next 18–24 months thanks to a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the eight Midwest states, and the strategy outlined here serves as the foundation for implementing effective wildlife habitat protection projects in response to climate change.
Environmental Practice 14:45–56 (2012)
(Received November 03 2011)
(Revised November 09 2011)
(Accepted November 14 2011)
(Online publication March 09 2012)
c1 William L. Allen III, Director of Strategic Conservation, The Conservation Fund, 410 Market Street, Suite 360, Chapel Hill, NC 27516; (phone) 919-967-2248; (fax) 919-967-9702; (e-mail) firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Lerner, currently a private conservation consultant, has over 20 years of experience in wildlife conservation. He previously directed the Conservation Planning program for Defenders of Wildlife and has worked as a program officer for Habitat Conservation with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He has also worked for the Nature Conservancy's Science Division and conducted ecological field research in different parts of the western United States. Jeff holds a master's of science in Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland–College Park and a bachelor's degree in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan.
William L. Allen III is Director of Strategic Conservation for the Conservation Fund in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. With the fund since 1994, he is responsible for project design, management, and delivery of customized conservation services for partners that advance the Conservation Fund's dual charter of environmental protection and economic development. Will and his team help corporations, transportation agencies, military services, city- and county-elected officials, regional and watershed organizations, natural resource agencies, and nonprofits to design comprehensive and tailored strategies that balance green and gray infrastructure needs. Will also is a coinstructor for the course Strategic Conservation Planning Using a Green Infrastructure Approach and for the course GIS Tools for Strategic Conservation Planning. He is the coeditor in chief and managing editor of the Journal of Conservation Planning and a cofounding board member of the Society for Conservation GIS. He holds a bachelor of arts in Urban Studies from Stanford University and a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina.