Ensuring connectivity across our landscape is essential for the health and wellbeing of both our human and wildlife communities.
The Staying Connected partnership is investing in conservation science, including detailed mapping of the most important connections between forest blocks, to better understand the challenge of habitat fragmentation. And is working with communities, individuals and professionals, to develop creative solutions to safeguard the values we all care about.
Landscape Conservation: Restoring Connections
Modern development, in the form of new roads and scattered construction, is fragmenting our forests and threatening our wildlife. Many animals need wildlife networks—a combination of forest blocks and connecting lands (often small forest and woodland patches, wetlands and river corridors)— to survive.
In the face of increasing habitat fragmentation, it is often up to us, acting locally, to maintain and improve the landscape connections that wildlife depends on. Maintaining and creating connections between these “stepping stones” allows wildlife to move freely across the landscape—between summer and winter food sources, to find mates, and to respond to environmental changes.
Real progress in protecting wildlife habitats
Since September 2009, Staying Connected Initiative partners have permanently conserved more than 288,000 forested and wetland acres that include wildlife corridors and road crossings essential to healthy wildlife populations. Projects covering an additional 43,000 +/- acres are in various stages of development. That’s over 300,000 acres in just three years.
SCI works on many levels, connecting landscapes and communities for the benefit of wildlife and people. We:
- Organize community meetings to teach people about the rich habitat and wildlife in their own backyards.
- Provide the information citizens and community leaders need to protect the natural resources they value.
- Meet with private landowners, town planners, and regional planning commissions, to provide tools and know-how for land conservation, habitat connectivity, land use planning, and climate change adaptation.
- Tailor our efforts to each community’s interests, needs and values.
- Work with state and local transportation agencies to address the issue of roads as barriers to connectivity and wildlife movement, and to establish an innovative and effective partnership to help carry this work forward.