Virtual Symposium - Climate Resilience

Members $49
Nonmembers $69

Edited video archive and additonal resources now available for purchase. 

Special thanks to the Colcom Foundation for sponsoring this virtual symposium. 

Nature's Front Line: The Role of Natural Areas in Climate Resilience in Central Appalachian Forests

Nature's Front Line considered the role of natural areas as a critical, strategic component to mitigating impacts of human-caused climate disruption. This program will equip practitioners with the information needed to inform management plans, educate policy makers, and enlighten the public on the vital role natural areas play in offsetting the impacts of climate change on our planet. Participants explored management techniques that maximize the resilience of natural areas to better protect biodiversity, sequester carbon, and maintain valuable ecological services.

Climate change is the great multiplier in natural areas management – exacerbating the impact of all other ecological stressors. This concept is not new to NAA members, and climate change related talks have been prominently featured at Natural Areas Conferences for decades. However, natural areas managers are often left with the questions, Now what? What can I do? In 2019, attendees of the Natural Areas Conference met in Pittsburgh, PA to consider the role of natural areas related to mitigating the impacts of global climate change, while adjusting approaches to land management to confront ecological stresses. At the time, this was an emerging area of science, creating more questions than answers. 

West Virginia
Practitioners wanted to know the role of natural areas in a changing climate and whether it's possible to make the case for natural areas as the front line in the battle to preserve biodiversity and create climate resilience? While the discussion was riveting, what we determined was that land managers and stewards of natural areas need more guidance and strategies to develop a greater understanding of the following:
1) The Role of Natural Areas for Climate Resilience
  • Carbon sequestration and storage

  • Habitat refugia for rare species 

  • Improving watershed quality (maintaining water temperature, reducing flooding events)

  • Protecting rare plant communities and ecosystems

  • Examining the importance of biodiversity in carbon sequestration

2) Natural Areas Management Strategies to Protect Biodiversity and Increase Climate Resilience
  • Determining adequate buffers around protected resources

  • Preparing for greater invasive species threats.

  • Understanding the role and importance of prescribed fire

  • Improving connectivity of NAs to aid in species migrations

  • Balancing scientific value with recreational use

  • Examining regional NA portfolios – are habitats that are critical to future protection and conservation missing


Friday, October 28, 2022

11:00 am - 11:15 am
Welcome & Overview
Executive Director
Natural Areas Association
11:15 am - 11:30 am
Chair, Science Advisory Committee
Natural Areas Association
11:30 am - 11:45 am
Making the Case for the Role of Natural Areas in Climate Resilience: Learning Together 
Regional Supervisor for the Mountain Region 
Virginia Heritage Program
11:45 am - 12:25 pm

Director of Science
Center for Resilient Conservation Science
The Nature Conservancy, North America Region
12:25 pm - 12:35 pm
Ryan Klopf, Ph.D.
12:35 pm - 12:50 pm
12:50 pm - 1:30 pm
Director, Biogeosciences Research Group
Director of Environmental Sciences, B.A. Program
Professor, Graduate School of Geography
Adjunct Affiliation with the Department of Biology
Clark University
1:30 pm - 1:40 pm
Ryan Klopf, Ph.D.
1:40 pm - 2:20 pm
Director of Conservation Research
Open Space Institute
2:20 pm - 2:30 pm
Ryan Klopf, Ph.D.
2:30 pm - 2:45 pm
2:45 pm - 3:25 pm
Professor, Assistant Department Head
Geography Department
Texas A&M University
3:25 pm - 3:35 pm
Ryan Klopf, Ph.D.
3:35 pm - 4:45 pm

Panel Discussion - Join us for a facilitated discussion with all of today's presenters.

All speakers & Ryan Klopf, Ph.D.
4:45 pm
Lisa Smith


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.