boreal interactions.jpg

There's so much great research being done in the spruce-fir forests of the northeastern U.S., an ecosystem that is contributes disproportionately to the diversity of the region (think moose, snowshoe hare, martens, blackpoll warblers, etc.).  Now recognizing that the whole is stronger than its parts, people who focus on birds, mammals, trees, etc. are coming together every year to share updates. This meeting serves as a place to share research, updates and build upon eachother’s work.

From this starting point, we are considering how this research can inform management and conservation.  For example, we met with managers from New Hampshire and Vermont state agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and private landowners to discuss how existing and potential maps and other decision tools could aid wildlife habitat conservation.  We also recently met with Wildlife Conservation Society staff in the Adirondacks to discuss what climate and forest models might be helpful to New York moose management.

Next steps will be to continue working with stakeholders at the state and regional scale, as well as bringing in other researchers who are modeling this system. Ultimately, we hope to use the climate change refugia conservation cycle (Morelli 2017) to create a climate change refugia management strategy for spruce-fir specialists in the northeastern U.S., considering existing mapping efforts and local expertise.




Madison WI

April 23, 2019


Managing Landscapes for Adaptive Capacity: Tools and Strategies for Identifying, Conserving and Connecting Climate Refugia

In this session, speakers will present the cutting edge in our ability to identify, manage, and connect climate change refugia and to maximize landscape-level adaptive capacity. The session will provide information on a suite of emerging techniques and foster a conversation about the role of climate-change refugia in adapting our management of ecosystems as a response to changing environmental conditions. Speakers from federal and state agencies, academia, and the non-profit sector will present examples from the US and Canada of how climate-change refugia are being integrated into regional planning. The goal of the session is to help build connections between researchers, planners, land managers, and others interested in conserving adaptive capacity across broad landscapes.

Opening talk: "Success stories of on-the-ground climate change refugia conservation" will be given by Toni Lyn Morelli. Other RRCrs will be speaking including Diana Stralberg, and Meg Krawchuk.

Of Pools

and People 


Ashland, MA

October 25, 2018

Of Pools and People.JPG

The Of Pools and People workshop held in Ashland, MA, on October 25, 2018, was organized by Aram Calhoun (University of Maine) and the rest of the NSF-funded collaboration (more at - check out their vernal pool comic and coloring book)!   

The workshop's objectives were to present and discuss recent research on vernal pool science and management and to identify actionable items to better inform upcoming and ongoing conservation actions. Toni Lyn Morelli and Jen Cartwright (both of USGS and the RRC) were 2 of the invited speakers.

The aim of Of Pools and People is to enhance understanding of the connections between landowner concerns, municipal planning, conservation activities, and the ecology of vernal pools. The team consists of natural and social scientists from the University of Maine, Clark University, and Bowdoin College that are embarking on a multi-year research project concerning Maine’s small natural features—vernal pools.





Berkeley, CA

October 17th - October 19th 2018


This meeting was held to bring together the content for climate change refugia special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and create a schedule. This main goal of this issue is to synthesize where the sub-field of climate change refugia—areas buffered from contemporary climate change that enable persistence of physical, ecological, and socio-cultural resources—is at present and where it is headed in the 21st century. Recent advances are making refugia identification more realistic and relevant by considering many other components of global change biology including hydrologic change, disturbance (fire, drought, pests/pathogens), population demographics and genetics, interspecies interactions, dispersal and migration, and adaptive responses to changing environmental conditions. The special issue will present a comprehensive overview of these “version 2.0” approaches to refugia research, conservation, and management. This in-person workshop was held from 8:00 am on Wednesday October 17 through 4:00 pm on Friday October 19 at the University of California Berkeley. 

Timeline Created

  • October to January -> Work on individual papers and intro paper contributions
  • December 16th -> An update meeting
  • January 11th -> Update meeting number 2
  • February 1st -> Send submissions to Toni Lyn & Cameron (or to everyone for feedback)
  • February 22nd -> Revisions will be sent back to authors
  • February 28th -> Submit!
  • May- August -> Respond to reviews
  • November – December -> Publication

ESA Refugia


August 9, 2018  

1:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Abstract for the ESA’s oral session:

The concept of climate refugia has a long history in the field of paleontology, where areas of relatively stable climate have been seen as safe havens for species during past episodes of climate change. Recently, this concept has been updated to focus on its application to managing species and ecosystems in the face of anthropogenic climate change. 

For refugia identification to be more realistic and relevant, many other components of climate change ecology must also be considered, including hydrologic changes, disturbances (e.g., fire, drought, pests/pathogens), population demographics and genetics, interspecies interactions, dispersal/migration patterns, and adaptive responses to changing environmental conditions. In this session, speakers will present the cutting edge in our ability to detect, understand, and manage climate change refugia.

Presenters will focus on novel statistical, climatological, and geographic tools, including new methods for modeling habitat suitability and vulnerability to climate change, use of remote sensing data to map areas resistant to disturbance, and the integration of biophysical and ecological data. In addition, they will explore the application of the refugia concept to the management and conservation of key species in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. As a whole, the session will provide information on a suite of emerging techniques and foster an advanced conversation about the role of climate change refugia in adapting our management of ecosystems as a response to changing environmental conditions.

OOS 35: "The Science of Resistance: Climate Change Refugia in the Face of Heat, Droughts, Floods, Fires, and Forest Pests" 




Incorporating Climate Change Refugia into Climate Adaptation in the Acadia National Park Region

June 8, 2018



1.     Bring together local natural resource managers to continue dialogue about climate change adaptation in the Acadia National Park region.

2.     Derive a list of candidate species to pilot a regional climate change refugia management strategy for the Acadia National Park region.


This meeting kicked off a new research project organized under a research fellowship funded by The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Acadia National Park, and Schoodic Institute’s Second Century Stewardship Fellowship project. The goals of the project are to work with regional conservation partners to incorporate climate change refugia into regional management and climate change adaptation plans, and to link climate science and natural resource management more effectively through active stakeholder engagement and knowledge co-production. To this end, we met with stakeholders in Winter Harbor Maine on June 8, 2018 to discuss how climate change refugia can be used in local management, identify local and regional data sources for the project, and to derive a list of species for which climate change refugia modeling would be most fruitful. The meeting drew nearly 25 participants from multiple agencies, including local land trusts and conservation non-profits, Acadia National Park, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. After developing the climate change refugia maps for the focal species identified at this first meeting, we will continue to work with partners to

  1. Refine and validate the model outputs

  2. Interpret and understand the data products.

  3. Identify ways to incorporate climate change refugia concepts into on the ground management and conservation actions.





April 17, 2018

Cold-water stream! (1).jpg

The coldwater streams expert workgroup, led by MassWildlife and affiliated with Mass ECAN (Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network),moved forward with methods to identify coldwater streams most resistant to climate change.  To this end, a workgroup meeting was held 12-1:30 pm et on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.  It was a success with nearly 20 participants across multiple agencies.


  • Climate (current and future): Temperature, Rainfall, Snowpack

  • Topography: DEM, complexity

  • Forest aspects: biomass, structure, compositio n, forest loss

  • Landscape features: current and future landcover map, connectedness, ecological integrity

  • Ecological and species assessments: climate stressor index; Bicknells thrush, hare, moose, blackpoll warbler, and Blackburnian warbler landscape capability and climate refugia maps; Refugia Research Coalition (opportunity for refugia identification, mapping, and management strategies)

  • Occupancy and Abundance data: hares and carnivores

  • SWAP information




February 28 – March 1, 2018  


Climate-change refugia in Boreal North America: what, where, and for how long?


1.      To develop and formalize a boreal refugia framework and synthesis.

2.      To initiate a multi-author review paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.


We hosted 30 boreal scientists for a facilitated workshop on climate-change refugia potential in the North American boreal forest region. The workshop was preceded by a one-hour phone conference with the group, as well as several planning meetings among the organizing committee. To make the workshop more productive, we developed a discussion paper and drafted a refugia framework that was circulated to participants in advance. Day one of the workshop began with presentations setting the conservation, management, and climate data contexts for refugia identification, and was followed by a presentation of the draft framework and workshop objectives. We then spent most of the day presenting and discussing the science behind various types of refugia, facilitated by a series of presentations mirroring the draft framework, and followed by a wrap-up discussion and brainstorming session. This first day helped to develop a common foundation among participants, and we began to agree upon some overarching principles, but it was clear at the end of the day that we had managed to pull apart the draft framework without agreeing on how to put it back together again. Even among the organizing committee, which debriefed for an hour following the workshop, there was no real consensus. We did, however, come up with a plan forward.


Meeting 2

October 13, 2017




  • Build connections between regional scientists and managers

  • Provide updates on year 1 activities and products

  • Learn about new refugia science and management opportunities

  • Determine future directions of the RRC


       More details and meeting agenda


Desired Outcomes & Products:

  • New connections between regional scientists and managers in attendance

  • Recorded symposium of new climate refugia science & management

  • Co-developed plan for quantitative analysis & synthesis product

  • Co-developed strategies for providing best available science to regional managers

  • Plan for RRC in 2018


Meeting 1

November 26 2016

NW RRC Meeting.jpg

On Monday, November 21, 2016 scientists and managers met in Portland, OR to discuss the research and management of refugia in the Northwest region. This was the first meeting of the Refugia Research Coalition (RRC), started by the NW Climate Science Center and lead by Aaron Ramirez (NCEAS). The primary objectives of this inaugural meeting were to identify the regional management priorities that will guide the efforts of the RRC going forward and to establish important connections between regional managers and scientists. After hearing from both scientists and managers about the key refugia–related research and management topics in the region, the group proposed a list of management priorities for the RRC to focus on. That list was then refined and prioritized through active, facilitator-led discussions and exercises. By the end of the meeting the RRC had established the following as the top management priories in the region:

1. Protection and management of sage grouse and steppe habitat.
2. Protection and management of estuary and coastal ecosystems.
3. Protection and management of riparian and riverine systems.
4. Allocation and management of late successional forest reserves.

In addition, the group will focus on species of conservation need and interactions between aquatic and terrestrial systems within each of these management priority areas. Additional meetings of the RRC will explore specific research and management strategies related to refugia, with the goal of advancing the use of refugia to meet these identified management priorities.