North American boreal Landscape
As our climate changes, individual ecosystems are changing deferentially. The high latitudes in the north, for example, are warming more rapidly than the surrounding areas. The North American boreal landscape, spans throughout Canada and part of Alaska and is dominated by coniferous forests, particularly spruce, interspersed with wetlands, mostly bogs and fens.
Boreal regions of flat terrain where the elevational gradients are shallow, have begun to show more scarce refugia areas. As the velocity of climate warming increases over time, it can have detrimental effects on the overall heterogeneity of the landscape.
Steep elevational gradients provide a climate shield
Areas in which the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains run through are characterized by steep elevational gradients and a diverse ecology along those gradients. These gradients provide shield regions along the ridge-lines that may change slower than the surrounding areas. These refugia areas are essential for migrating species; particularly for their ability to make it across the terrain in order to reach more desirable climate regions. More detailed analysis should be made of these terrains and the refugia that the boreal-shield regions provide.
These refugia areas that have lower climate velocities than the surrounding area are key location to identify. The locations should be monitored for changes in flora and fauna abundance and richness in order to understand the surrounding areas. Management implications and conservation strategies are being discussed and analyzed.