Products

We identify issues and uncertainties that pose obstacles to conservation and then—in collaboration with internal and external colleagues—develop science products that help overcome those obstacles.

2024 | Terrestrial | Marine | Science | Publications & Reports

Spatial Patterns of Vegetation Change in a Fire-Suppressed Coastal California Landscape

Lucy Genua, Brad Anderson, Meghan Bowen, Genelle Ives, Owen Liu, Thomas Paschos, H. Scott Butterfield, Kelly Easterday, Mark Reynolds, James H. Thorne

In this paper, the authors used historical vegetation data, from both aerial photographs and field transects, to assess the change in major vegetation types at the Dangermond Preserve over the last approximately 80 years. They found that as grazing and fire have decreased across this landscape,…


2024 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Potential Impacts to Biodiversity from Proposed Lithium Extraction in Nevada and California

Michael J. Clifford, Sophie S. Parker, Laurel Saito, Brian S. Cohen, Naomi S. Fraga

Lithium batteries are important for the clean energy transition in the United States because they are used in electric vehicles and for grid power storage. However, lithium extraction may have impacts on biodiversity. The authors use data from a previous TNC study to analyze…


2024 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Quantitative methods for integrating climate adaptation strategies into spatial decision support models

Nicholas A. Povak, Patricia N. Manley, Kristen N. Wilson

This study presents a methodology to integrate spatial assessments of current and future forest conditions to understand the potential to achieve desired conditions under climate change with ongoing disturbances. The output is a strategic (where to go) and tactical (what to do) map to improve…


2024 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Potential impacts of proposed lithium extraction on biodiversity and conservation in the contiguous United States

Sophie S. Parker, Michael J. Clifford, Brian S. Cohen

To address climate change, the United States is incentivizing the production of electric vehicles containing domestically derived lithium batteries. Extracting this lithium may have environmental impacts, including impacts on biodiversity. To reveal what these impacts could be, the authors mapped 72 proposed lithium extraction…


2024 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund - 2024 RFP

Brynn Pewtherer

The Oren Pollak Memorial Research Fund was established in 2000 in memory of Dr. Oren Pollak, a leading grassland ecologist and restoration pioneer, as well as an ardent champion and mentor for grassland ecology students. As The Nature Conservancy’s lead ecologist in California in the…


2024 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Publications & Reports

Expert bioblitz on the Atwood Preserve

Michael Clifford, Sophie Parker, Matt Rader, Lydia Bailey, Naomi Fraga, Chris Hass, Estella Hernandez, Jan Kempf, Lois Merkler, Michael Swink

The Amargosa River supports one of the most outstanding suites of endemic and imperiled species in the world. In 2019, TNC acquired the Atwood Preserve in the river’s headwaters, the management of which could impact river flows, condition, and biodiversity. With the support of the…


2023 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Contrasting management paradigms for pronghorn in the arid Southwest and their northern range: a review

William T. Bean, H. Scott Butterfield, Craig Fiehler, David Hacker, Jeanette K. Howard, Russell Namitz, Brandon Swanson, Thomas J. Batter

TNC launched a Water for Wildlife project motivated by understanding the importance of standing free water across the season for wildlife in general, but most importantly for those species sensitive to water availability during times of the year when water is typically limiting in California,…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Mojave Desert land-use change: revisiting conservation values after a decade of growth and development

Michael J. Clifford, Sophie S. Parker, Brian S. Cohen, Elaine York, Joel Tuhy

This paper provides an assessment of changes in the conservation value of lands in the Mojave Desert of Nevada and Utah resulting from renewable energy and other development between 2010 and 2018. The authors use conservation value as determined by the Mojave Desert Ecoregional…


2023 | Terrestrial | Economics | Publications & Reports

Wildfire Resilience Insurance: Quantifying the Risk Reduction of Ecological Forestry with Insurance

The Nature Conservancy with Willis Towers Watson, Sarah Heard

California has the highest wildfire risk in the US, and climate change will continue to exacerbate the risk, at least in the foreseeable future. As a result, California is facing an insurance crisis, as insurers are finding it harder and harder to write insurance in…


2023 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Interstate 15 Wildlife Crossing Design Considerations for Focal Wildlife Species. Santa Ana-Palomar Mountains Linkage Southern California

Trish Smith, Cheryl Brehme, Jill Carpenter, Nancy Frost, Megan Jennings, Barbara Kus, Scott Quinnell, Spring Strahm, T. Winston Vickers

The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Transportation are planning 3 wildlife crossing infrastructure projects along a 3-mile stretch of Interstate 15 (I-15) in the Santa Ana-Palomar Mountains Linkage in southern California. While wildlife crossings are becoming more common, optimal designs that meet the…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Statistical evaluation of the similarity of characteristics in springs of the California Desert, United States

Adam H. Love, Andy Zdon, Naomi S. Fraga, Brian Cohen, Maura Palacios Mejia, Rachel Maxwell, Sophie Parker

This paper presents results from the Mojave Desert Springs research project. The authors present a comprehensive statistical analysis of similarities between California desert springs. An observed lack of correlation between the springs’ hydrologic and ecological parameters suggests that each spring represents a somewhat unique…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Supporting the “virtuous cycle” in urban ecosystems: how research can inform plans, policies, and projects that impact urban resilience

Michele Romolini, Sophie S. Parker, Gregory B. Pauly, Eric M. Wood

This editorial introduces a group of 11 articles published as part of an organized research topic in the Urban Greening section of the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities. In contrast with the abundance of literature that describes the negative impacts of humans and anthropogenic change,…


2023 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Exploring interacting effects of forest restoration on wildfire risk, hydropower, and environmental flows

Benjamin P. Bryant, Tessa Maurer, Phillip C. Saksa, John D. Herman, Kristen N. Wilson, Edward Smith

The authors of this study analyzed how wildfires and forest restoration, specifically thinning and prescribed fire being implemented in the French Meadows Project in the central Sierra Nevada, could impact streamflow, hydropower generation, and ecological flows for a threatened frog (Foothill yellow legged frogs). By…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

A resilient and connected network of sites to sustain biodiversity under a changing climate

Mark G. Anderson, Melissa Clark, Arlene P. Olivero, and D. Richard Cameron

In response to biodiversity loss, scientists have called for the protection of well-connected systems of protected areas covering 30 to 50% of the planet. However, as climate change drives shifts in species, conservation plans based on current biodiversity patterns will become less effective. The authors…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Stormwater Management

Kristina Kreter, Shona Ganguly, Rowan Roderick-Jones, and Kelsey Jessup

New strategies to address urban runoff management with nature-based approaches offer promising solutions to alleviating climate change impacts—like urban heat, water shortages, and floods—and environmental pollution and the loss of natural green space that diminish the quality of life for vulnerable communities. Vegetated…


2023 | Terrestrial | Science | Publications & Reports

Shrub density effects on the presence of an endangered lizard of the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Mario Zuliani, Nargol Ghazian, Malory Owen, Michael F. Westphal, H. Scott Butterfield, Christopher J. Lortie

As The Nature Conservancy embarks on restoration planning for its Strategic Restoration Strategy, it needs detailed information on the importance of shrubs to a suite of conservation targets, including the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Previous collaborative work between TNC and partners revealed a threshold of…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Expanding the Role of Nature-based Solutions in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs: Lessons and Recommendations

The Nature Conservancy, radbridge, Earth Economics

FEMA increasingly recognizes and emphasizes the role of nature-based solutions (NBS) for building community resilience to hazards like flood, wildfire, and drought, and the agency has made remarkable progress on policies and resources to support NBS in a relatively short period. However, anecdotally it remains…


2023 | Freshwater | Terrestrial | Marine | Planning | Economics | Publications & Reports

Valuing the Flood Reduction Benefits of Marsh Restoration

Taylor-Burns, R., Heard, S., Beck, M. W.

There is growing evidence for the beneficial role that wetlands can play in reducing flood risk, but in many urban estuaries, coastal development has resulted in dramatic habitat loss and fragmentation. In the past several decades, marsh restoration has emerged as a core management objective…


2023 | Terrestrial | Planning | Science | Publications & Reports

Cattle Grazing Across The Nature Conservancy in California’s Conservation Estate

Butterfield, H.S., J. Howard, Z. Principe, E. Inlander, S. Sweet, A. Craig, R. Mason, J. Knapp , M. Katkowski

For over 300 years, cattle and sheep have been grazed in California, from the Rancho era continuing to the present day. The Nature Conservancy has a long history in California and across the western United States in using cattle grazing for conservation purposes. In California…