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Kittatinny Ridge Summit - Crisfield

This presentation was prepared for the Kittatinny Ridge Summit (Feburary 27th, 2013). The Kittatinny Ridge is the eastern most continuous ridge in Pennsylvania with coincident conservation importance.
by

Elizabeth Crisfield

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of Kittatinny Ridge Summit - Crisfield

Topography and
Climate Adaptation
in the Appalachians
(and on the Kittatinny Ridge) Local scale: Short-distance migrations Mountain-scale: Upslope migrations Regional to continental scale: Northward migrations From an exposed nose-slopes to a protected cove
or
From a dry ridgeline to an intermittent streambed
or
From the hot dry south face to the cool wet north face Clingman's Dome, Smoky Mountains (rough terrain) Temperature gradient is about 1 C / 100 m
This migration has been predicted AND observed
but
Habitat area decreases with elevation Green Mountains of Vermont
forest transition zone shifted upslope, 100m in 43 years (1962-2005) Temperature gradient is about 0.0008 C / 100 m
This migration has been predicted AND observed
but
There is concern that migration rates will not keep pace with the velocity of climate change A long line of research in biogeography leads to the hypothesis that mountainous places preserve species diversity.

A paper estimating the "Velocity of Climate Change" (Loarie et al., 2009, Nature) recognized that effectively slower velocities are predicted in mountainous places which give species more time to adapt to climate change.

The migrations described here provide mechanisms at small to large scales and over short to long time periods. Methods:
I used the National Elevation Dataset
I sampled 662 50km x 50km patches
I used ArcGIS, FRAGSTATS, and R to calculate measures of:
roughness (local migration)
loss of habitat with elevation (upslope migration)
nearest distance between mountains (northward migration)
I compared these topographic patterns with patterns of tree species richness. Roughness Habitat Loss with Elevation Nearest Neighbor Distance Question:
If mountains support climate adaptation, is there a link between some measure of terrain and biodiversity? How do we use this information to enhance conservation given anticipated climate change?

Two answers:
Protect the places that show the greatest native potential to protect species diversity.
Enhance connectivity between these places. Acknowledgements:
Work supported by the National Park Service Centennial Fund and the Department of Defense NICCR Program
Dissertation Advisor, Erica Smithwick, Penn State Hawk Mountain; Photo: N. Stannik Tree Atlas, Iverson et al.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/atlas/tree/ Woodall et al. 2009 Tree Species Diversity The big picture... Continuous, high elevation southern Appalachians Lower elevations in the mid-Atlantic Discontinuities around the Adirondacks and the Hudson Iconic mountains of New England Biodiversity hotspots on the A.T.
(MEGA-Transect Report) Low elevations and low relief don't facilitate adaptation, but species have to move through this region so connectivity is more important than ever. The Kittatinny Ridge provides refuge from warming temperatures for Piedmont and Coastal Plain species which will be exposed to a higher "velocity of climate change"

It should be possible to quantify the facilitating role of ridges in northward migration.
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