Rocky shore with black crowberry and spruce tree, ocean in background

Finding refuge from climate change in the national parks

National Parks include within their boundaries pockets and patches where temperatures stay cool even when the surrounding landscape is heating up. Scientists call such places “climate change refugia.”

Knowing how habitats and species will shift in the future can guide management of landscapes in the present. A recent article in The Working Waterfront featured the work of 2018 Second Century Stewardship Fellow Jennifer Smetzer to map potential climate refugia in Maine under different climate change scenarios. Smetzer’s research focused on a subset of plants and animals that were identified as priorities by the National Park Service and other federal, state, and nonprofit conservation organizations. Smetzer’s work was part of a broader coalition of researchers including Toni Lyn Morelli, USGS Research Ecologist with the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center who are studying refugia in the 30 Northeastern region park units as well as Yosemite National Park and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.