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Wildlife Migration Corridors Could Help Plants and Animals Cope with Climate Change
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by Marc Imlay | 2011

In the article “Warming Planet Pushing Species Out of Habitats Quicker Than Expected” (http://www.livescience.com/15640-species-shifting-climate-change.html), Jennifer Welsh comments that “Habitat fragmentation and changing ranges of predators, prey and pollinators (for plants) also influence species’ ability to survive in any specific habitat. If a species can’t reach the next bit of livable habitat, they would be stuck where they are until climate changes led to their extinction.

 

Wildlife Migration Corridors Could Help Plants and Animals Cope with Climate Change

 

By Marc Imlay—In the article “Warming Planet Pushing Species Out of Habitats Quicker Than Expected” (http://www.livescience.com/15640-species-shifting-climate-change.html), Jennifer Welsh comments that “Habitat fragmentation and changing ranges of predators, prey and pollinators (for plants) also influence species’ ability to survive in any specific habitat. If a species can’t reach the next bit of livable habitat, they would be stuck where they are until climate changes led to their extinction.

You could have a population where effectively you have the living dead,” Thomas said. “You have adult individuals, which are alive, but without recruitment, [the creation of offspring] the individuals die off.”

 

Providing plant and animal wildlife migration corridors is a critical tool in our response to climate change. Corridors 1,200 feet wide, to include aquatic, riparian and upland habitat, are generally sufficient for most species, based on research studies. Besides habitat being restored or preserved, invasive species and water pollution have to be controlled enough for the plants, animal, and fungi to migrate. Overharvesting (e.g., lumber, menhaden fish, etc.) is another threat which needs to be addressed.

 

Tools for the creation of migration corridors include Program Open Space, water pollution control, conservation easements, transfer development rights, forest conservation property tax reduction plans, and Smart Growth with a cap at the non-developed location. Smart Growth alternatives to new highways is critical.

 

One of the most successful approaches has been to save an area before it is sold to developers. Lack of awareness that there are many ways to reduce property taxes to affordable levels is one of the most common and unnecessary causes of transfer of natural areas to development. This is particularly important when descendents have difficulty in paying the inheritance and property taxes on inherited land their parents wanted to preserve.

 

Detailed information for the following abstracts for providing plant and animal wildlife migration corridors is provided in the Land Preservation Tool Kit.

 

http://maryland.sierraclub.org/action/p0161.asp

http://maryland.sierraclub.org/action/p0384.asp

http://maryland.sierraclub.org/action/p0196.asp

 

Marc Imlay, Ph.D., is a member of the Southern Maryland Group. He represents the group on the chapter excom, and chairs the chapter’s Biodiversity, ESA, Invasive Species, and Habitat Stewardship Committee. A conservation biologist by profession, Marc also leads volunteers in restoring natural habitats by indentifying and removing non-native invasive plants. He can be reached at marc.imlay@maryland.sierraclub.org.

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