Indicator: Resilient Terrestrial Sites

Aug 10, 2020
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This indicator depicts an area’s ability to continue supporting species diversity and ecosystem function in the face of climate change. It measures landscape diversity (topographic complexity) and local connectedness (connected natural landcover). Complex and connected sites are considered resilient because they contain many different microclimates and allow species to move to adjust to changing conditions.

Reason for Selection

Resilience scores quantify a combination of landscape diversity and local connectedness, stratified by geophysical setting and ecoregion. These measures represent the number of microclimates available to species and the current state of the landscape. This builds on research from Anderson and Ferree (2010), who showed geophysical diversity and elevation range were associated with biodiversity in the Eastern United States. Resilience emphasizes diverse landscapes where species are likely to be able to move and adjust to changing conditions.

Input Data

The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Resilient Land dataset (Anderson et. al. 2016)

Mapping Steps

Landscape diversity ranked sites using the variety of landforms, elevation range, and wetland density (for very flat areas). Local connectedness measured natural land cover types within a 3 km radius of each cell.

1) We used TNC’s Resilience Stratified by Setting and Ecoregion with Regional Override data.

2) To target specific areas for conservation, we reclassified the original continuous data layer into the seven standard deviation-based classes that TNC uses in display of the data.

3) We used the coastal zone data layer provided by TNC to remove areas in the 0-3 ft elevation zone not well captured by this dataset. These areas were changed to NoData.

Final indicator values

Indicator values were assigned as follows:

7 = Final Resilience Score: Far above average (>2 SD) (high)

6 = Final Resilience Score: Above average (1 to 2 SD)

5 = Final Resilience Score: Slightly above average (0.5 to 1 SD)

4 = Final Resilience Score: Average (0.5 to -0.5 SD)

3 = Final Resilience Score: Slightly below average (-0.5 to -1 SD)

2 = Final Resilience Score: Below average (-1 to -2 SD)

1 = Final Resilience Score: Far below average (<-2 SD)

0 = Developed (low)

Known Issues

– Does not explicitly account for threats from sea-level rise; therefore, following the recommendation of the data developers, we removed areas in the 0-3 ft elevation zone.

– Does not account for the occurrence and timing of disturbance processes, particularly fire. Without fire, resilient sites in many ecosystems will not serve as biodiversity hotspots. This is particularly problematic in pine and prairie ecosystems in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.

Disclaimer: Comparing with Older Indicator Versions

There are numerous problems with using South Atlantic indicators for change analysis. Please consult Blueprint staff if you would like to do this (email

Literature Cited

Anderson, M.G., A. Barnett, M. Clark, C. Ferree, A. Olivero Sheldon, J. Prince. 2016. Resilient Sites for Terrestrial Conservation in Eastern North America. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Conservation Science.

Anderson, M.G., Ferree, C.E., 2010. Conserving the stage: climate change and the geophysical underpinnings of species diversity. PLoS One 5, e11554.

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generated using ADIwg mdTranslator 2.17.1
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2020-08-15 04:00:00 (lastRevision Date), 2020-08-15 04:00:00 (Release Date), 2019-08-15 04:00:00 (Start Date), 2021-08-15 04:00:00 (End Date)
Rua Mordecai(Point of Contact), Amy Keister(Point of Contact), Hilary Morris(Point of Contact), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(Point of Contact), Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)(Point of Contact), 2020-08-15(lastRevision), 2020-08-15(Release), Indicator: Resilient Terrestrial Sites,,
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Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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South Atlantic Blueprint

The South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint is a living spatial plan to conserve natural and cultural resources for current and future generations in the face of future change. It spans parts of six states, from Virginia to Florida, including U.S. waters to 200 miles offshore. The Blueprint...