Taking the Lead on Climate Change: Land Trusts Can Safeguard the Southeast’s Natural Heritage
Land trusts have an important role to play in addressing climate change. Some conservation organizations are already involved in protecting forests that sequester carbon dioxide, offsetting harmful greenhouse gases. Others promote more compact development patterns, which help reduce CO2 emissions. But most land trusts protect land for a variety of reasons that typically have more to do with recreation, biodiversity, view sheds, water quality or cultural values. While land conservation for such purposes is important, the question that many will ask of land trusts is: What are you doing about climate change? For those organizations interested in answering that question, the challenge is to identify those places that can provide refuge to species and serve as natural strongholds in the event of drought, flood and other disturbances, and thereby facilitate adaptation by both wildlife and humans to climate change. The challenge is pressing, and it will require new knowledge and different ways of working.