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Conserving Nature's Stage

 The submission windows for Land Protection and Technical Assistance Grants have closed.  We will post results of those grants in 2018.

The purpose of this project, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, is to identify the most resilient sites in the Northwest that will collectively and individually best sustain native biodiversity even as the changing climate alters current distribution patterns. The central idea is that by mapping key geophysical features and evaluating them for landscape characteristics that buffer against climate change, we can identify the most resilient places in the landscape in order to guide future conservation investments. 
2016 Regional Connectivity Report: see upper right of this page
2015 Report:  Identifying Resilient Terrestrial Landscapes in the PNW
materials available for download :
  • A two page fact sheet.
  • Buttrick et al. 2015 report:  This report covers 11 ecoregions, including 8.5x11 maps and Appendices A-C. The last ten maps are also available below as high resolution versions.
  • GIS Data: Result, Scripts, etc. This 2GB zip file contains most of the GIS data from the 2015 report.
  • GIS Data: Topoclimate. This 12GB zip file contains only the topoclimate diversity data from the 2015 report, including the 30m HLI and CTI datasets.
  • Excel Appendices:  Appendix D is Ecofacet Descriptive Statistics, and Appendix E is the list of Portfolio Sites with their Resilience scores to be used with Map 9.2 (see below).
  • High Resolution Maps.  This 90MB zip file contains the high resolution versions of ten results maps from the Buttrick et al. 2015 PNW Resilience report. These maps are very similar to those in the report but allow the user to zoom in and view the data for specific areas of interest. Although individual pixels are viewable, we recommend interpretation of the data at broader scales.
  • Online mapping:  See link to the right for the Conserving Nature's Stage DataBasin Gallery.
The study area in the 2015 report covers 92 million hectares (227 million acres) over portions or all of six states, and includes all of the East Cascades/Modoc Plateau, Columbia Plateau, Middle Rockies/Blue Mtns., West Cascades, Klamath Mtns., CA N Coast, Sierra Nevada Ecoregions and the U.S. portions of the Canadian Rockies, North Cascades, PNW Coast, and Willamette Valley/Puget Trough ecoregions.
The comprehensive final report includes an update covering the four ecoregions in the 2014 report, and describes in detail the methods used and products produced for all 11 ecoregions, including a geodatabase which contains all the spatial data inputs and outputs. 

As part of this project, we:

  • Created a comprehensive map of Geophysical Settings or Land Facets (the "Stage”) using Soils, Elevation, and Slope.
  • Created a comprehensive map of landscape characteristics essential to assessing the resilience of a site by combining local permeability with topoclimate diversity.
  • Assessed Conservancy conservation portfolio sites across the study area to evaluate the adequacy of representation of Land Facets, and also ranked the sites based on the area of terrestrial climate change resilient landscapes (cells) within them.
  • Ranked each land facet within an ecoregion based on levels of protection and conversion, and present these data as a Conservation Risk Index.
  • Using landscape resiliency data, we informed the selection of a new set of conservation sites in the SE Oregon portion of the Columbia Plateau and set the stage for adoption of these methods elsewhere.  The specifics for this SE Oregon update are available in Chapter 8 of the 2014 report.
For the 2015 Special Section in Conservation Biology on Conserving Nature's Stage, go here.

For information on our land protection grant program, visit 

For more information on the PNW analyses, contact Ken Popper or Michael Schindel. 

For more information on The Nature Conservancy's Resilience work elsewhere, visit the TNC Eastern Division Science Conservation Gateway site


 Regional Connectivity

 Online Mapping