This project used species distribution modeling, population genetics, and geospatial analysis of historical vs. modern vertebrate populations to identify climate change refugia and population connectivity across the Sierra Nevada. It is hypothesized that climate change refugia will increase persistence and stability of populations and, as a result, maintain higher genetic diversity. This work helps managers assess the need to include connectivity and refugia in climate change adaptation strategies. Results help Sierra Nevada land managers allocate limited resources, aid future scenario assessment at landscape scales, and develop a performance measure for assessing resilience.
Most natural resource managers, planners and policy makers are now dependent upon spatially explicit environmental suitability and spatial allocation analyses to inform policy and management decisions. However, staff across agencies has been unable to stay current on understanding and applying these new data, tools and analyses. Currently, this information may be underutilized or used inappropriately, which could result in poor decisions. Two training curricula were developed – one for managers and one for GIS analysts – on current best practices for developing and using spatial information to support conservation decision making. The training materials are open-source and widely distributed to California LCC stakeholders.