Think Big


This is why conservation biologists, since at least the early 1990s, have called for parks to be connected to one another by unbroken corridors of nature, through which large species can move. For small mobile species, such as birds and insects, a stepping-stone scatter of protected areas close to one another has much the same effect. Climate change makes such connectivity even more important, as species challenged by the changing climate will need big gene pools to draw from and lots of different places to which they can move to. In particular, sites with microclimates to harbour species that can't take the heat need to be identified, protected and linked to existing protected areas.

…In February 2010, the US Department of Interior ordered all the land-management agencies it oversees to join with other federal, state and private land managers in 'landscape conservation cooperatives' to help to understand and respond to the effects of climate change. At a recent scientific meeting in Yellowstone, many scientists groaned at the prospect of yet another entity in the already crowded and confusing realm of conservation planning. But if these cooperatives are widely embraced, they could be a way to move beyond the truism that landscape-level conservation is needed, and start to do it.