Conserving the Stage: Climate Change and the Geophysical Underpinnings of Species Diversity

In Conserving the Stage: Climate Change and the Geophysical Underpinnings of Species Diversity, Mark Anderson and Charles Ferree of The Nature Conservancy advocate expanding stewardship objectives to protect the ultimate drivers of biodiversity. Research that shows strong correlations between geophysical characteristics and species diversity – currently focused in the Northeast, but being tested elsewhere – suggests that protecting geophysical settings will “conserve the stage” for current and future biodiversity and may be a robust alternative to species-level predictions. By protecting geophysically diverse areas — places that vary in altitude, climate or soil chemistry, such as sandy coasts and rocky highlands — land trusts will protect lands that will support large numbers of species, even if the species’ composition changes in the future due to climate change.