The Nature Conservancy, TX

Climate Change Challenge: direct effects on species

Grant Award: $250,000; Year Awarded: 2014

After decades of fire exclusion, sky islands in Texas, and throughout the Southwest, have very dense forests. These forests are already suffering from climate-induced stresses such as drought, insect outbreaks, and severe wildfires, all of which could intensify in a hotter and drier climate. Mesic canyons are the coolest and wettest parts of the sky islands. These canyons will harbor the largest number of species in the future because their sheltered topography moderates climate extremes. This project will focus thinning efforts in and around mesic canyons, reducing the stresses and enhancing the resilience of these natural refugia to climate change.