Nancy Fresco, Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning, and Karen Murphy, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Understanding how climate change will affect biodiversity and traditional subsistence is a common challenge faced by Federal, State, Native, and private land managers. The Connecting Alaska Landscapes into the Future project (Connectivity Project) was a consensus-based effort that included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and University of Alaska researchers as well as state and federal agency and non-profit partners. The project’s goal was to develop the methodology and thought processes to identify a network of lands that support ecosystem functions to ensure landscape-level connectivity within Alaska given climate change using data that are available today.
In order to model projected changes in statewide biomes and in potential habitat for key species, we gathered data on existing conditions and linked these to models of future conditions, using climate projection data from SNAP, input from project participants, and complex statistical models. With feedback from participants, we refined these models and used them as basis for creating maps of potential future statewide connectivity.
The proof-of-concept results presented in this report are preliminary and are not intended to be proscriptive, but rather to serve as a guide for planning and as a jumping-off point for synergy and further research.