SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Scientists from the University of Rhode Island and the state office of The Nature Conservancy have developed a series of tools that identify sites in the state that are likely to contain the greatest biodiversity in the next century.
“We’ve created a set of maps that identify the most ecologically diverse and resilient areas of the state to guide our investment in conservation and management, to make sure we look after those places in the face of climate change,” said John Torgan, the conservancy’s director of ocean and coastal conservation.
The scientists, led by The Nature Conservancy’s Kevin Ruddock, divided the state into “ecological land units” – areas on the landscape that have similar environmental characteristics. Those locations with a great variety of ecological land units will likely have a higher number of species living there and can provide opportunities for those species to move around and thrive.
The next step for the scientists is to make the tools available to municipalities and local land trusts as they plan how to respond to climate change. •