Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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Conservation Coordinator 

    SECAS issues

    SECAS issues
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Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy

Formal Title: Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy

Research Focus: landscape scale conservation, adaptation

Conservation & Management Challenges:

The trends for growth and economic development predicted in recent assessments show that the Southeast’s population grew at a rate roughly 40 percent faster than any other region over the past six decades.  Cities are getting bigger; rural communities are getting smaller.  These are just some of the challenges we are seeing on the landscape.  Between now and 2060, more than half the nation’s population growth and an estimated 65 percent of its economic growth will occur in 10 mega-regions across the country — three are in the Southeast Region.  

 

At least 65 percent of the nation’s economic growth will be packed into those mega-regions as well.  The gross regional product for the Piedmont mega-region alone is $1.1 trillion – and that number is already outdated for a region that snakes from north of Nashville south to Birmingham, Alabama; over to Atlanta, Georgia; then dog-legs northeast through Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and finally to the Research Triangle of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

 

In that same time frame, we are likely to lose an amount of land to development the size of the State of South Carolina.  Globally, demand for food will grow by 35 percent.  Demand for energy will grow by 50 percent.  Demand for water will grow by 40 percent.  Most people will have little contact with nature and the outdoors.  All these pressures – on conservationists, business owners, private landowners, policymakers, and farmers – affect all of us.  Decisions are being made to address population growth, increasing urbanization, traffic congestion, struggling educational systems, increasing global competition, and wildlife conservation needs. In addition, there is farmland conversion, ecosystem degradation, declining air quality, droughts, and competition for water resources as a result of all that pressure.

 

Research Overview:

The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is a shared, long-term vision for lands and waters that sustain fish and wildlife populations and improve human quality of life across the southeastern United States and Caribbean. SECAS provides regional focus for investments across organizations, disciplines, and partnerships on shared and proactive goals. The unique role of SECAS is to identify and support the steps necessary to regionally plan, implement, and evaluate actions that sustain habitat, mitigate threats, and adapt to desired conditions. As a result, SECAS unifies the delivery of conservation activities and supports innovation that can be applied across the region. Funding for this project supports a SECAS Coordinator.

The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) was first proposed and approved by the Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) at their 2011 Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  Through the collaborative forum and scientific capacity provided by the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) overlapping the SEAFWA region, it was envisioned that SECAS would provide a blueprint of the future conservation landscape of the southeastern United States.   The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is an ambitious effort to harness the power of collaboration and leverage scientific, technical, and financial resources to proactively pursue a more resilient landscape to sustain fish and wildlife.  The goal of SECAS is to define and describe an ecologically connected network of landscapes and seascapes in the Southeast that represents our collective conservation interests and will sustain fish and wildlife through the 21st century.  An adaptation strategy recognizes that the dynamic nature of landscape change across the Southeast demands that we deliver conservation action more strategically than we have in the past and more comprehensively than we are at present.

 

Results:

A SECAS Coordinator was hired in 2015 and will continue working through 2016 to coordinate the efforts of the many entities involved in this collaborative initiative.

The Southeast Climate Science Center is funding a three-year project to sustain SECAS beyond 2016.  The project, which will be led by the University of South Carolina, National Wildlife Federation, and North Carolina State University, will support the SECAS effort by assessing the implications of climate change and other drivers of landscape change for existing conservation goals and management objectives across the region.  It will also facilitate development of regionally appropriate principles and approaches for adapting current and future conservation plans and actions in response to climatic and other landscape-scale changes.

LCCs are engaged in a number of Landscape Conservation Design (LCD) projects that will form the foundation of the SECAS Conservation Blueprint and emerging conservation landscape of the future.  An initial SECAS blueprint will be rolled out at a leadership summit to take place in conjunction with the October 2016 SEAFWA conference in Louisiana. 

Status:

This project was initiated in 2011; a coordinator was hired in 2015.  This project is ongoing. 

Contacts:

SECAS Coordinator: Cynthia Ed,  SECAS Coordinator & Gulf Coast liaison - Wildlife Management Institute; 601-965-4903 (ext 303); email: c.kallio.edwards@gmail.com; Jackson, MS 

 

Landscape Conservation Cooperative Point-of-Contact: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506  

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