This article discusses the best type of land to help get animals through the effects of climate change. Deep in shady forests and at the bottom of towering canyons, climate refugia could provide the stability that vulnerable species need.
“Refugia provide a safe haven during periods of an unfavorable climate,” Morelli and her co-authors wrote in the journal PLOS One in 2016. Indeed, such areas—whether they be on mountain slopes, in shady forests, or in deep, cool canyons—are characterized as being naturally buffered from local and regional climate changes. As global temperatures rise, these pockets could help to ensure the continued existence of valued species. In identifying refugia, Morelli and her collaborators—part of a cadre of conservation scientists working on this issue—hope their efforts will contribute to improvements in land management. “We’re looking to create a product that is as useful as possible,” Morelli says.