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The Critical Linkages: Bay Area And Beyond Project

Habitat loss and fragmentation are the leading threats to biodiversity. Countering these threats requires maintaining and restoring connections between our existing natural areas to form a regional wildland network.

Such an interconnected system of wildlands would allow natural ecological processes—such as migration and range shifts with climate change--to continue operating as they have for millennia.

Critical Linkages: Bay Area & Beyond (Critical Linkages) identifies 14 landscape level connections that together with the Conservation Lands Network provide a comprehensive plan for such a regional network.

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Critical Linkages was designed to preserve landscape level processes and maintain connected wildlife populations from Mendocino National Forest in the north to the beaches of the Santa Lucia Range on Los Padres National Forest and Hearst Ranch in the south, and eastward to the southern end of the Inner Coast Range. These 14 linkages of crucial biological value could be irretrievably compromised by development projects over the next decade unless immediate conservation action occurs. These landscape linkages and the wildlands they connect are meant to serve as the backbone of a regional wildlands network to which smaller wildlands can be connected.

The Critical Linkages effort was led by Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands (SC Wildlands), a nonprofit focused on connectivity conservation. SC Wildlands was asked to expand upon the work of the Bay Area Open Space Council’s Conservation Lands Network. The products developed for Critical Linkages are meant to fine tune the Conservation Lands Network to ensure functional habitat connectivity at a landscape scale. SC Wildlands collaborated with the Bay Area Open Space Council and numerous other partnering agencies, organizations and individuals to develop the Critical Linkages conservation strategy.


Background

Critical Linkages launched in 2010 with two habitat connectivity workshops where scientists, land managers and planners identified a suite of focal species to lay the biological foundation for linkage planning. Two more symposium were held in the summer of 2012 and gave interested stakeholders the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft Linkage Network. Over 175 people attended and participated in the symposiums.

For more information, visit the SC Wildlands website or contact Kristeen Penrod at (877) WILDLAND.



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