Landscape Conservation Cooperatives: Creating a Collaborative Conservation Vision in the Face of Climate Change Uncertainty

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Nicole Athearn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Norman, OK, United States and Debra Schlafmann, Fish and Wildlife Service Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, United States
The 22 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) form a “network of networks,” each defined by the characteristics of its ecoregion and its unique community of conservation managers, practitioners, and scientists. As self-directed partnerships, LCCs are strongly influenced not only by the landscape but by the evolving cultures and values that define the multi-faceted relationships between people and place. LCCs maintain an ecologically connected network across these diverse landscapes by transcending borders and leveraging resources. Natural resource managers are challenged to make decisions in the face of multiple uncertainties, and several partners across the network have recognized that climate change is one important uncertainty that spans boundaries – both across the conservation community and beyond. The impacts of climate change across the LCC Network are likely to be as diverse as the network itself – manifesting as, for example, sea level rise, ocean acidification, loss of sea ice, and shifts in climate patterns and timing – but synergies are being leveraged within and between LCCs and national climate-focused programs to systematically address the needs of the network to support a collaborative conservation vision that addresses multiple landscape-scale stressors in the face of climate uncertainties. This vision is being achieved by leveraging the convening power of the LCCs and collaborating with DOI Climate Science Centers and others. Selected case studies will demonstrate how the network finds strength in its differences, but also reveals powerful collaborative opportunities through integrated science, shared conservation strategies, and strategic approaches for translating targeted science to conservation action. These examples exemplify past successes as well as ongoing efforts as the network continues to bring about effective application of climate science to achieve conservation outcomes across the LCC Network in an uncertain future climate.