Connecting Wildlands
& Communities
Connecting Wildlands & Communities
Integrated Land Use Planning to Support Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Local Communities

With new funding from the California State Strategic Growth Council, the Institute for Ecological Monitoring and Management at San Diego State University and the Climate Science Alliance will lead an interdisciplinary team of planners, environmental engineers, ecologists, and geographers to explore how connected landscapes can support adaptation and resilience to climate change for both ecosystems and local communities in southern California. This new project takes a comprehensive planning approach to meet State objectives on protecting rural communities, mitigating wildfire risk, supporting water sustainability, and protecting biodiversity. The goal of this research is to provide an integrated planning and decision-making framework that supports multi-benefit landscape-scale planning and facilitates science-informed climate adaptation and strategies across the region.


While our formal feedback period for the initiation phase of the project has ended, if you'd like to share something or communicate with us, please contact us here:


Check out our new infographic!

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CWC Project One-Pager

Stakeholder Feedback:

In three interactive feedback meetings and through an online feedback survey, we received input on all aspects of the CWC project. In general, stakeholders told us they were most interested in seeing the results of this project in the form of geospatial layers, a tool for data visualization and decision support, case studies, and webinars. More specifically, we got the following feedback for each topic area:

Watershed Selection

The Connecting Wildlands and Communities project has finalized the selection of watersheds that will make up the primary study area for the project. The refined list of 55 watersheds prioritizes areas of focus based on project goals and stakeholder feedback.

Watersheds shown in darker blue indicate where enhanced water data will be available. Click "View Larger Map" to see more detail and then click on each watershed to see more information.

Project Objectives
I. Engagement

To engage with partners and stakeholders across the region to support climate resilient ecosystem and community planning and implementation.

II. Wildfire Assessment

To assess the implications of connected landscapes on wildfire risks and patterns and recovery after wildfire impacts to ecosystems and communities.

III. Watershed Assessment

To evaluate the impact of connected landscapes on hydrologic regimes as it relates to water quality, quantity, and sustainability for ecosystems and communities. 

Project Focus: Wildfire Assessment
IV. Biodiversity Assessment

To consider how connected landscapes will serve to protect plant and wildlife populations, habitats, and climate refugia over the long-term.

V. Planning Integration

To deliver a suite of robust products and applications that reflect research outcomes and deploy a comprehensive outreach program that provides accessible, relevant, and data-driven products and decision-support tools to a diverse end-user community. 

VI. Outreach and Delivery

Establish an integrated planning framework that incorporates ecological connectivity, wildfire risk, and water sustainability into land management approaches, conservation planning, and land use strategies.

"What's exciting about this opportunity is that it builds on our connectivity research, while giving us an opportunity to leverage and partner with other areas of expertise and excellence on campus."
- Dr. Megan Jennings,
Research Lead
Project Partners and Sponsors:
Project Focus: Watershed Assessment

Connecting Wildlands and Communities is a three-year project funded by the California Strategic Growth Council as part of the California Climate Change Research program. Read the news release here.

Climate Science Alliance logos Final-01.

 “To safeguard natural and human communities in the face of a changing climate.”

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The Climate Science Alliance is fiscally sponsored by the California Wildlife Foundation (Tax ID: 68-0234744).

© Climate Science Alliance 2019