Integrating climate-change refugia into 30 by 30 conservation planning in North America

Sarah P. Saunders, Joanna Grand, Brooke L. Bateman, Mariah Meek, Chad B. Wilsey, Nicole Forstenhäusler, Erin Graham, Rachel Warren, Jeff Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Countries have set targets for conserving natural areas to mitigate biodiversity loss, such as the protection of 30% of lands by 2030, commonly referred to as “30 by 30”. Yet strategic conservation planning to align those targets with climate-change refugia is lacking. We investigated the feasibility of achieving 30 by 30 in North America by assessing the proportions of state/provincial/territorial land projected to provide refugia for terrestrial biodiversity and the proportions of those refugia that are currently protected. We also conducted a reserve selection prioritization to identify priority areas that complement the current protected area network and capture refugia for seven taxonomic groups. In North America, <15% of refugia are protected, but ample opportunity exists to expand protection if warming is limited to 2°C. Beyond 2°C, however, the majority of refugia will occur only at high latitudes and elevations. Incorporation of refugia into 30 by 30 efforts will facilitate species persistence under climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology & the Environment
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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