Adapting strategic land conservation as a climate adaptation strategy

Adapting strategic land conservation as a climate adaptation strategy

Melissa Ocana
UMass Amherst Extension
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 8
Session Type: 

Strategically protecting and conserving land can be an important climate adaptation strategy with many co-benefits for human and natural systems. For example, conserving a salt marsh can buffer communities from increased storm surge. When floodplains along a river are intact and undeveloped, they can reduce flooding during intense storms and increase water storage during drought. As the climate changes, plants and wildlife will need to move to more suitable habitats and protecting an interconnected network of complex habitats can allow more species to adapt.

The implementation of strategic land conservation happens through strong partnerships among many stakeholders across sectors, including land trusts, state agencies, regional authorities, and municipalities. In this session, leaders from the land sector will provide an overview of the relevance of land conservation to adaptation practice. Each year land trusts conserve 1.8 million acres of land and we will share examples of land trusts leading the way. We will point to successful partnerships that use existing tools to prioritize and strategically plan land conservation for resilience. We will also consider some of the challenges to this work and point to resources, such as best practices on how to communicate about climate change developed for land trusts. The session organizer will provide a 5 minute introduction and closing, with 15-20 minutes for each speaker in between. Finally, we will have a discussion with the audience to consider their local partners and places that could benefit from using land conservation to advance climate adaptation.


Co-benefits of land conservation - Session Intro & Closing
Melissa Ocana, University of Massachusetts Amherst
What is a land trust and how are they adapting to climate change
Kelly Watkinson, Land Trust Alliance
Scenic Hudson: a land trust advancing climate adaptation through conservation
Nava Tabak, Scenic Hudson
Innovative Strategies for Municipal Land Conservation in a Changing Climate
Darci Schofield, Metropolitan Area Planning Council