Climate change vulnerability assessment (CCVA)

Our climate is different than it was even fifty years ago. We need to know how that will affect our flora and fauna.

Why does climate change matter for land conservation?

Over the past few decades, we have seen variations in our climate which have led to variations in the Trust’s forests. We want to determine where these variations have led to weaknesses in the health of our forests. We will then use this knowledge to make informed stewardship and land acquisition decisions moving forward.

In May 2014, the Trust received a $60,000 grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to conduct a two-year Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment on the lands in the Gorge. Our Stewardship Intern, Dave Jacobs, will be taking on this project as his capstone project for his Master’s Program in Conservation Biology through Green Mountain College in Vermont. His aim in this project will be to map the ecological systems, i.e. land cover patterns, in the Gorge and compare the current data with legacy data available from NatureServe and USGS. In comparing how land cover has changed, Dave will be able to pinpoint areas of concern in the Gorge. Dave’s research will ultimately help the Trust develop a land management plan that will address our current vulnerable spots in the Gorge and be proactive about future land purchases that may be key in protecting our forests as a whole.

Dave Jacobs, Researcher

Originally from Vermont, Dave attended Johnson State College and received a BA in Outdoor Education. Dave has recently finished his MS in Conservation Biology. Dave has performed trail mapping and planning for the University of Maine and produced burn unit maps for Acadia National Park. In his spare time he enjoys riding mountain bikes, hiking, strong coffee and futzing around the woodshop. Above all else, Dave prefers taking in a good day outside!

Dave spent two years, first, conducting an inventory of the natural communities of the Tennessee River Gorge and, second, developing a management plan to better prepare our forests for the coming consequences of climate change. 

Research News