The changing landscape for California’s native plants
We’re seeing the effects of climate change in real time. Irregular blooming periods, range contractions, and population declines are under way. With these changes come significant questions such as:
- What species are most likely to survive California’s rapidly changing climate?
- What species are most at risk? And what can we do to help them?
- Where might species occur in the future that they don’t occur today?
- And how do those changes impact decisions about land use and conservation going forward?
Data crystal balls
Today, scientists are actively using data modeling and genetic research to try to answer these important questions. These models come in two forms:
- Species Distribution Models — Maps that predict where habitat is today and probably could be will be in future, and
- Vulnerability Analyses — Models that rank the probably climate stress to a given species or plant community.
While research is helping to reduce some of the uncertainty, these predictive models often raise as many questions as answers. Today, we are faced with a challenging paradox: the uncertainty of available information coupled with the urgent need to make decisions based on that information. This reality makes data rescue and aggregation of what we do know particularly critical, which is why CNPS has launched the Important Plant Area Initiative.
Now, more than ever, we must conserve as much land and species as possible, to help us prepare for a future of unknowns.
Climate Change News and Information
Learn more about our work to address the challenges of a changing climate.
Climate Change Position
CNPS recognizes that climate change is real and that the current rate of global warming is faster than natural forces would produce.
Important Plant Area Initiative
Learn why this time-sensitive project is needed now more than ever in California and what you can do to help!
Become a member of CNPS and connect with your chapter’s local conservation efforts.