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Assessing climate-sensitive ecosystems in the southeastern United States

The southeastern U.S. contains a unique diversity of ecosystems that provide important benefits, including habitat for wildlife and plants, water quality, and recreation opportunities. As climate changes, a better understanding of how our ecosystems will be affected is vital for identifying strategies to protect these ecosystems. While information on climate change affects exists for some ecosystems and some places, a synthesis of this information for key ecosystems across the entire Southeast will enable regional decision-makers, including the LCCs, to prioritize current efforts and plan future research and monitoring.

This study will develop a regional synthesis of the types, geographic distribution and controls, scientific understanding, and conservation status of spatially discrete endemic or disjunct ecosystems whose hydrology, soils, or physiography make them especially sensitive to shifts in regional precipitation or temperature throughout the Southeast and the Caribbean. We will synthesize existing information on current threats, climate change impacts, and the capacity of these ecosystems to adapt to climate change. We will combine data from ecological and geographic databases, scientific literature, technical reports, and expert knowledge to assess climate affects. Throughout the project, we will work with LCCs and other experts to supplement our analysis and ensure that our work is useful for informing conservation. The result of our research will be a list of key conservation strategies that will help ecosystems adapt to climate change.

Total funding for this project is $100,000.

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