Connectivity across the landscape allows for the movement of plants and animals, whether for migration, or as ranges shift in response to a changing climate. By allowing for species movement across the landscape, connectivity supports genetic diversity within species and species resilience in the face of environmental stressors. Thus, connectivity is critical to maintaining an ecologically functional landscape. Cold Hollow to Canada works to promote connectivity through multiple mechanisms, one of the main ones being securing conservation easements within core forest blocks.
A core block is an area of contiguous forest and other associated natural communities and habitats (wetlands, ponds, and cliffs, for example) that remains unfragmented by roads, agriculture, or other development. Besides enhancing connectivity, keeping forests as forests is one of the best ways to mitigate climate change, as tree leaves capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees and forest soils. Additionally, the ecological and biological functions inherent in interior forest blocks protect native species and promote the ecological functioning of the landscape as a whole. An ecologically functioning landscape not only supports wildlife, but is also critical for human well-being since it can simultaneously support a thriving forest economy.
A connected landscape that allows for species movement between core habitat blocks, with an additional 23,000 acres of forestland conserved by 2030.
CONSERVATION BY THE NUMBERS
- The CHC region spans seven towns and nearly 170,000 acres along the northern spine of Vermont's Green Mountains.
- Core forest blocks, forming critical habitat and the connections between, account for approximately 117,000 acres or 70% of the CHC region.
- When we began our work, 20% or about 23,500 acres of the core forest blocks within the CHC region had been conserved through state ownership or private conservation easements.
- One key measure of success is to double that number and conserve another 23,000 acres by 2030 for a total of 46,500 acres or 40% of the core forest blocks in conservation.
Photo by Jenny Goyne