Conservation in a Changing Climate

By on May 15, 2017 in Featured, News, Newsletter with 0 Comments

Most people agree that climate change is the defining environmental issue of our time. And as a result, OVLC’s mission in the Ojai Valley is more important than ever.

Climate change is a symptom of the rapid increase in greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, which act to hold in heat. The resulting changes in global temperatures have wide-ranging effects on local and regional weather patterns, which in turn impact local habitats and ecological niches that have formed over thousands of years.

OVLC’s open space preserves absorb huge amounts of greenhouse gasses, storing them for long periods of time. And by acquiring land that might otherwise be developed, the conservancy is able to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas that would come from conversion to urban uses. Open space is also critical in helping nature to adapt to changing climate by enabling wildlife and even plant communities to move freely.

Climate change is happening now, and the impacts are accelerating. Even if emissions of greenhouse gasses stopped today, those currently in our atmosphere would continue to change the climate. While we may not be able to stop climate change, taking local actions increases our resilience and helps to protect the natural resources that offer some of our best hopes for limiting the damage.

We at the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy have responded to climate threats by placing an emphasis on conserving larger properties with a diversity of landforms that exhibit intact biological conditions. We have also made it a priority to preserve lands containing critical water supplies to ensure water is available for fish and other wildlife.

Land trusts throughout the country are also following climate science closely, assessing potential impacts, and working on programs to increase climate resilience on their preserves and in their programs. California alone is home to more than 150 land trusts that have protected more than 2.5 million acres in every county. And nationwide, land trusts have protected more than 56 million acres, or double the size of all land in national parks within the lower 48 states.

Here in the Ojai Valley, an area known for its variable climate, we have a head start in our adaptive strategies. To learn more about climate change and its potential impacts, we recommend a climate talk scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 3-5 pm at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy. Daniel Swain, a climate scientist from UCLA, will present the latest research on climate change and local impacts. The OVLC is co-sponsoring the event.

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