Adaptation

While the Northeast Wilderness Trust endorses efforts to dramatically reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that adapting to the changing climate will require a range of strategies for human and natural communities. Establishing wilderness areas—whether they are called by that name or parks, protected areas, ecological reserves, natural areas or another designation—is a fundamental adaptation strategy for maintaining biodiversity during the coming decades and centuries.

Ensuring that natural habitat is not isolated but linked into systems of conservation land is also crucial. Habitat connectivity is necessary to maintain natural processes across the landscape, to allow wildlife to move, and to allow vegetative communities to evolve and adapt in the face of changing conditions. Designing systems of interconnected conservation lands across elevational gradients and along a north–south axis can help foster this movement.

Finally, having a broadly representative system of wilderness areas offers a base datum of normality that researchers can study over time, potentially offering important lessons for how society can better use the lands it has harnessed for the production of food, timber, minerals and fiber.

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