Image: Sandhill Cranes at the Consumnes River Preserve by BLM / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

California is home to one of 25 global hotspots for conservation, because of both its remarkable biodiversity and the significant threat of losing habitats and wildlife species unique to California.[1] Climate change is one of the biggest threats to conserving the rich biodiversity found in this state. Species and ecosystems in California are valued both for their intrinsic worth and for the services they provide to society. These services include air purification, water filtration, flood attenuation, food provision, and recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing; all of these can only be maintained if ecosystems are healthy, robust, and can function properly under the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, it is important to note that California ecosystems also provide a means to mitigate climate change via natural sequestration of carbon. In this area, adaptation and mitigation efforts are intertwined, and many activities to build habitat and species resilience will also support the reduction of greenhouse gases.

In order to increase biodiversity and habitat resilience, agencies should continue to incorporate the latest climate science, projected and observed impact information for marine and terrestrial wildlife, and adaptation principles into conservation planning efforts to ensure climate-smart actions are taken at the local, regional, and state-wide scales. Specific climate vulnerability information for species and habitats should be incorporated when available, and that information can then be used to inform conservation priorities and actions. It will be essential to consider habitat connectivity and protecting critical areas of habitat reserves to protect species (both terrestrial and aquatic), as current habitats change and new habitats develop. Climate-smart restoration and enhancement can also be used to increase the resilience of degraded habitats and to reduce vulnerability to climate change. Working with a multitude of partners and stakeholders will continue to be crucial; sharing data and experience between partners will help to ensure that common pitfalls are avoided, and that benefits to species and habitats are maximized.

All Resources for Biodiversity And Habitat


Actions Likely to Increase Plant and Animal Resilience to Climate Change

The Nature Conservancy. 2018
Data, tools, and research
A map of California's Landscape Vulnerability for land managers, based off of state-wide vulnerability assessment. Visualizes and presents conservation actions land managers can take to help address the threat of climate change to the terrestrial species of California.

Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS)

California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2018
Data, tools, and research
The Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS) is a system designed to enable the management, visualization, and analysis of biogeographic data collected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and its partner organizations. BIOS collects data for any environmental/biological information with a spatial component, allowing users to view and analyze environmental data such as rare plants and animals, timberland, habitat connectivity, and renewable energy.

California Climate Commons

California Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Extreme storms Sea level rise Snowpack Temperature Wildfire
Assessment Data, tools, and research
The California Climate Commons is the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative's catalog of climate change data and related resources, information about the science that produced it, and guidance for applying climate change science to conservation in California. On the California Climate Commons website, you can find climate change data, search a library of literature, explore web resources, compare tools and read about California LCC projects. The Climate Commons Data Catalog includes downscaled climate models, biogeographic models, sea-level rise projections, climate change impact assessments, and more.

Data Basin

Conservation Biology Institute. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Extreme storms Ocean acidification Sea level rise Snowpack Temperature Wildfire
Data, tools, and research
Data Basin provides technical specialists, decision makers, and members of the interested public with the ability to access, interpret, analyze, and communicate using conservation science data. Data Basin is a web-based platform that integrates science, mapping, and people by providing mapping tools to create custom maps, collaborative workspaces, access to biological, physical, and socio-economic geospatial datasets and more.

Habitat Conservation Plans

United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 2018
Planning and policy guidance
Habitat Conservation Plans are planning documents required as part of an application for an incidental take permit under the Federal Endangered Species Act. They describe the anticipated effects of the proposed taking; how those impacts will be minimized, or mitigated; and how the HCP is to be funded. NEPA Analysis documents are also prepared alongside incidental take permits. Adaptation planning processes that may impact endangered species or take place in areas where Habitat Conservation Plans are in place should consider these documents and be integrated with all planning and implementation processes.

Modeling Bird Distribution Responses to Climate Change

Point Blue Conservation Science. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Temperature
Data, tools, and research
Provides probabilities of occurrence of California Birds Species of Special Concern modeled using present day vegetation and climate variables and for two climate change futures.

Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) and Climate Change

California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2018
Drought Sea level rise Temperature Wildfire
Planning and policy guidance
Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) are intended to protect large habitat reserves that are connected to each other, and connected to adjacent conserved lands, to sustain effective movement of wildlife. Applying NCCP principles to habitat conservation should allow species to adapt to climate change, allowing shifts in distributions, adapting to new habitats, and/or utilizing protected refugia. Climate change should be considered throughout the planning process.

NatureServe Conservation Tools & Services

NatureServe. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Ocean acidification Sea level rise Temperature Wildfire
Data, tools, and research
NatureServe provides value-added tools and services that are developed to transform this information into actionable knowledge in the service of scientific understanding and biodiversity conservation. In operation since the 1970s, the NatureServe Network is a successful example of a distributed network of biodiversity inventories. Access to conservation information, climate change vulnerability indices for biodiversity, and other indicators and maps.

Point Blue Conservation Science’s Climate-Smart Restoration Toolkit

Point Blue. 2018
Drought Extreme heat Extreme storms Ocean acidification Sea level rise Snowpack Temperature Wildfire
Data, tools, and research Planning and policy guidance
The Climate-Smart Restoration Toolkit provides resources for restoration practitioners interested in designing their projects in a way that prepares them for climate change. Resources include a restoration checklist, riparian restoration design database for a number of counties, and more.

Threat Assessments on California Rangelands

California Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 2018
Drought Snowpack Temperature
Data, tools, and research
Developed six scenarios organized around the management question: "How can we maintain viable ranchland and their ecosystem services in light of future integrated threats?" The scenarios represent alternative futures of climate/land use/hydrological change for the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition focus area. These scenarios were then used to quantify and map three main rangeland ecosystem services—wildlife habitat, water supply, and carbon sequestration. This visualization tool allows the user to view changes in these ecosystem services across scenarios and years.