The Siskiyou Crest Connectivity and Climate Migration Corridor

Research has shown that the Siskiyou Crest is a key climate refuge in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion and would benefit from the removal or reduction of non-climate related biological stressors such as commercial logging and other extractive uses.[1]

Other studies have demonstrated the area’s resilience and its ability to facilitate landscape scale species movement in response to climate change,[2] as well as its importance in sustaining regional biodiversity in a changing climate.[3]

Additional studies have identified the Siskiyou Crest region as one of the Pacific Northwest’s highest conservation-priority areas for the enhancement of resilience in the existing regional reserve network. Scientific research also shows that the Siskiyou Crest is specifically noted for its importance to landscape scale species dispersal and climate resilience.[4]

American lady butterfly on Waxy coneflower (Rudbeckia glaucescens)
Echo Lake

As our climate is unnaturally altered by fossil fuel emissions and poor land management practices, species will be on the move, searching for suitable habitat and shifting their populations either geographically across the landscape, or higher in elevation in order to compensate for increased heat and aridity caused by climate change. Scientific research has shown that if adequately protected and managed for biodiversity, the relatively intact habitats of the Siskiyou Crest region will provide an important connectivity and climate migration corridor, linking the major habitats of the West Coast, and facilitating climate induced species migration on the landscape scale.

The Siskiyou Crest provides unique microclimates, climate refugia, and intact wildland habitats that allow for the persistence of an extremely varied and diverse biota. Yet, this diversity and the region’s important function on the landscape will only be secure when the intact public lands in this corridor are more adequately protected.

[1] Olson, d., DellaSala, D., Noss, R., Strittholt, J.R., Kass, J., Koopman, M.E., Allnutt, T.F., 2012 “Climate Change Refugia for Biodiversity in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion.” Natural Areas Journal 32 (1) 65-74 http://climatewise.org/images/stories/pdfs/Publications/ClimateChange/natareasjrnl_ksclimatechangerefugia_olson et al_2012.pdf

[2] Littlefield, C.E., B.H. McRae, J. Michalak, J.J. Lawler and C. Carroll. 2017. Connecting Today’s
Climates to Future Analogs to Facilitate Species Movement under Climate Change.
Conservation Biology 31(6):1397-1408 https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12938

[3] Buttrick, S., K. Popper, M. Schindel, B. McRae, B. Unnasch, A. Jones and J. Platt. 2015.
Conserving Nature’s Stage: Identifying Resilient Terrestrial Landscapes in the Pacific
Northwest. The Nature Conservancy, Portland, OR. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304842896_Conserving_Nature%27s_Stage_Mapping_Omnidirectional_Connectivity_for_Resilient_Terrestrial_Landscapes_in_the_Pacific_Northwest

Hannah, L., M. Rebecca Shaw, P. Roehrdanz, M. Ikegami, O. Soong and J. Thorne. 2012.
Consequences of Climate Change for Native Plants and Conservation. California Energy
Commission. Publication number CEC-500-2012-024. Sacramento, CA https://carangeland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CchangenativeplantsCEC-500-2012-024.pdf

[4] Carroll et al 2010-Optimizing resiliency of reserve networks to climate change: multispecies conservation planning in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Global Change Biology 16 (3) 891-904. March 2010. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01965.x http://www.klamathconservation.org/docs/carrolletal2010.pdf

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