May 2014 Posts

CLCC-Supported Projects

3.1 Development and dissemination of a high-resolution national climate change dataset

Project Status Near completion; data for Puerto Rico is in the process of being reviewed and submitted to complete the project. Expected completion date is June 2014.
Geographic Scope United States and U.S. Caribbean
Principal Investigator(s) Jaime Collazo, Nathaniel Booth, Lauren Hay, Katharine Hayhoe, and Adam Terando
Sponsor(s) This project is supported by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Project Cost  $276,834
Research question(s) and approach The project had three objectives: 1) develop a database of up-to-date and state-of-the-art downscaled climate projections for the continental U.S., using a range of plausible future greenhouse gas emission scenarios, 2) conduct workshops to solicit input about climate-related data needs and to discuss best practices for accessing and using downscaled climate projections and other landscape change datasets, and 3) make downscaled climate and other landscape change projections available as an enterprise-level web-based source. Users will be able to freely access the data via an interactive, easily manageable interface, in formats which are familiar to ecosystem and impact modelers.
Goals The Geo Data Portal (GDP) will provide public access to high-resolution climate change projections in Puerto Rico, and eventually, the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Geo Data Portal (GDP) is now available for public use at and a prototype of the companion portal that calculates various projections of climate thresholds and extremes is available at

3.2 Strategic habitat conservation in Puerto Rico

Project Status On-going
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico
Principal Investigator(s) Jaime A. Collazo, Stephen J. Dinsmore, James F. Saracco, and Jose Cruz Burgos
Sponsor(s) Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources
Project Cost  $294,395
Research question(s) and approach The goal of this project is to design a biological corridor for resident avian species between Guanica and Susua State Forest Reserves in southwestern Puerto Rico. The project emphasizes the estimation of patch colonization and extinction rates in agricultural, urban, and forested matrices, and the permeability of the urban matrix.
Goals A spatially-explicit conservation design plan to facilitate movement of birds through habitat matrices, and ultimately, between Susua and Guanica Reserves to foster species persistence in the region. The strategy recognizes that the landscape is under multiple land uses, including low density urban development. The conservation design is centered along the Rio Loco watershed, joining ongoing conservation efforts in the watershed by USDA-NRCS and NOAA.

CLCC-Funded Projects

2.1 Systems’ Response to Climate Change Projections and Species-distribution Models in the Caribbean

Project Status On-going; expected completion date is June 2014
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator(s) Jaime A. Collazo, William Gould, Lauren Hay, Jennifer Costanza, Azad Henareh Khalyani, and Ashley Van Beusekom.
Sponsor(s) U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and Caribbean LCC.
Project Cost  $229,666
Research question(s) and approach We propose to use downscaled climate data to: 1) model climate-change related effects on water quantity and water temperature across the island, 2) simulate future spatial patterns of urban growth across the island according to recent growth urbanization trends, and 3) model vegetation dynamics to project future land covers for Puerto Rico and the USVI.
Goals This work will be used to project biotic and abiotic responses of tropical island ecosystems to climate change and urbanization.

2.2 Assessing climate-sensitive ecosystems in the southeastern U.S.

Project Status On-going; expected completion date is September 2013.
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator(s) Jaime A. Collazo, Jennifer Costanza and William Gould
Sponsor(s) USGS Southeast Climate Center, Caribbean LCC
Project Cost  $50,000
Research question(s) and approach We are assessing the three components of vulnerability: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of selected ecosystems in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ecosystems were selected based on feedback from local LCCs.
Goals The result will be a comprehensive assessment of potential climate change impacts to selected ecosystems, an explicit outline of how to assess other ecosystems of interest in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, and a list of recommended management, conservation, and monitoring strategies.

2.3 Developing multi-model ensemble projections of ecologically relevant climate variables for Puerto Rico and the US Caribbean

Project Status On-going
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator(s) Adam Terando, Ryan Boyles, Jared Bowden, Jaime Collazo, William Gould, Vasu Misra, and Lydia Stefanova.
Sponsor(s) USGS Southeast Climate Center, Caribbean LCC
Project Cost  $527,708
Research question(s) and approach We propose: 1) Engage in ongoing dialogue with ecologists, hydrologists, and conservation biologists, eliciting expert knowledge to focus resources on the most valuable types of information that will aid decision-making, 2) simulate precipitation response to the anthropogenic forcings (both local and global) at a scale that resolves key physical processes, such as convection, across Puerto Rico, 3) characterize the uncertainty in the projections by nesting up to two regional climate models (RCMs) within within a minimum of two and up to four general circulation models (GCMs), that simulate the climate response to the anthropogenic forcing based on a ‘business-as-usual’ emission scenario (known as RCP8.5), and 4) develop projections of ecologically-relevant climate variables that will most directly influence the distribution and persistence of wildlife species, namely, ectotherms (e.g., reptiles, amphibians). Such variables include, in addition to precipitation, projected changes in cloud-base heights, surface air temperature, relative humidity, and evapotranspiration.
Goals The resulting simulations will fill a critical need for climate change information in Puerto Rico and the broader U.S. Caribbean by enabling future estimates of likely deviations from known ranges of species’ thermal/moisture optima. Our proposed work furthers scientific understanding of local responses to global climate change and lays the foundation for a decision analytic approach to climate adaptation in the Caribbean LCC.

CLCC-Directed Projects

1.1 Vegetation dynamics related to climate and land use in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Project Status In-progress
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator(s) Postdoctoral researcher Azad Henareh (NCSU/IITF) works with IITF Research Ecologist William Gould and NCSU professor Jaime Collazo. The research is housed in the IITF GIS and Remote  Sensing Laboratory.
Sponsor(s) This project is supported by the US Geological Survey, North Carolina State University (NCSU) and   the US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF).

Goals of the project

Spatial factors of land cover transition in Puerto Rico

  • The transition between land cover types is dependent upon landscape spatial arrangement. Land cover maps for 1951, 1977-78, 1991-2, and 2000 are available from the previous studies. We are developing a land cover from 2010 aerial photography. For each transition type at each time step we calculate all topographic, climatic, hydrologic, management, and other spatially referenced themes. We are using binomial logistic regression to calculate the probability of each transition based on the main underlying factors, and we check whether the spatial factors with significant effects change through time. The transition probabilities based on spatial arrangement will be a new source of information for all spatially explicit landscape modeling of the area.

State and transition simulation modeling of vegetation dynamics

  • We will use the calculated transition probabilities from our first step as inputs for simulations in a state and transition model. The model will be created in Path tool which uses state-and-transition models to simulate the future vegetation conditions on a landscape. The model in Path environment will be connected to TELSA tool which is used to process the GIS data and do the simulations in a spatially explicit environment. We will validate the model projections for accuracy. Our simulations will be used along with results from climate change, hydrology, and urban modeling being done by the NCSU team to help in assessing future scenarios, spatial planning, and resource management in light of climate change.

1.2 Ecosystem Governance Knowledge Base

Project Status Completed
Geographic Scope Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator(s) SustainaMetrix is a social enterprise located in a business incubator at Johns Hopkins University that focuses on building capacity for the ecosystem approach. They offer a wide range of training, planning, evaluation and facilitation services and specialize in complex and dynamic social-ecological systems.
Sponsor(s) This project is supported by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region (Region 4), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Project Costs $64,000

Goals of the project

A team from SustainaMetrix assisted the CLCC and partners in the development of an inventory of conservation based actions, collaborative structures and sources of governance at multiple scales to serve as a basis for an ecosystem governance knowledge base. There are four main components to this work:

  • First, the team will engage with principal participating organizations of the CLCC and conduct interviews with steering committee members regarding their organization’s structure, priority areas of focus, priority issues they are addressing, goals and objectives, core capacity, range of conservation activities on Puerto Rico and USVI, as well as their involvement in other forms of conservation-based collaborative structures. Distill key findings, our distilled findings/analysis.
  • Second, the team will define specific attributes of the intended collaboration within the CLCC so that its existence, development, quantity, quality and effects can be measured, observed and documented. The team will be using the Collaboration Evaluation and Improvement Framework (CEIF).
  • Third, the team will examine 3 examples of ecosystem-based governance (Guánica Watershed Restoration, St. Croix East End Marine Park and the CLCC) to model a process to inventory and map collaborative structures in place, their goals and objectives, current activities, and other potential sources of governance. The team will use The Analysis of Governance Response to Ecosystem Change developed by Olsen, Page and Ochoa, 2009.
  • Fourth, the team will make a series of recommendations to the CLCC for the development of an expanded ecosystem governance knowledge base, use of the knowledge base to define and refine goals, to sequence and prioritize actions, and to evaluate progress of the CLCC along the way.

Get involved

The CLCC is open to anyone who shares our mission to ultimately conserve, restore, and sustain natural and cultural resources in the Caribbean Region. Contact staff or steering committee representatives if interested in our research teams, advisory bodies and conservation action teams or join our mailing list to simply stay informed about CLCC activities and discussions.

We strive to advance science for the future of conservation in the Caribbean. We ask stakeholders key questions to identify gaps in our current body of scientific knowledge so that we can meet the challenges of managing natural and cultural resources in a changing world. We ask ourselves and others – What information is needed to help make the best conservation and management decisions? Who does research that can help us? Who communicates science in a way that is accessible to decision makers? What tools are needed to prepare decision makers for emerging threats? How do we collectively and effectively get research results and decision support tools to the people who manage our lands and seas?

Benefits of Joining the CLCC Community

You have access to:

  • Receive regular updates on CLCC and partner landscape conservation activities, funding opportunities, meetings, and science products;
  • New datasets and maps on the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas and CLCC Data Center;
  • Interact with the wider LCC Network;
  • Be a candidate for CLCC advisory bodies and teams;
  • Work collaboratively on land and seascape issues important to you;
  • View, search and network with all CLCC partners;
  • Propose new groups and teams;
  • Discussions within your groups (online and in-person);
  • Use our web-based networking and data management tools; and
  • Post announcement and events for all partners and members of the public to view on the webpage, calendar, CLCC Twitter and Facebook accounts, and in our quarterly newsletter.

Get Social!

  • Post questions or ideas on the CLCC facebook group for an interactive online dialogue with the conservation community about today’s most pressing conservation issues
  • View the updates from CLCC steering committee, staff, research groups, conservation action teams, and pilot watersheds for landscape conservation design;
  • Connect to a broader network of National LCC’s and Climate Science Centers that cross state, jurisdictional and international boundaries. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives;
  • Receive and share the latest news on Caribbean-specific conservation initiatives by following the CLCC on Twitter;
  • Submit articles and blogs to CLCC publications..

Questions on joining the CLCC  Community? Contact our Partnership and Communications Coordinator (Contact)

To accomplish our mission the CLCC needs clear guidance and a dedicated partnership. The Steering Committee and staff function, through an open process, to determine the cooperative’s operational structure and goals, the breadth of our activities, the projects to be undertaken, and science and grant making priorities.

CLCC partners can contribute expertise and energy in a variety of ways:

Advisory Groups: Periodically the CLCC Steering Committee and Staff needs scientific, technical or stakeholder guidance to coordinate project funding processes, strategic frameworks, and outreach to science and practitioner communities. Science providers, science users, conservation practitioners, and community leaders that join the CLCC may be approached by the staff or Steering Committee to participate on an advisory group.

Research Groups/Scientific Community: Providing sound science is at the core of the Caribbean LCC’s mission. Researchers represent science in action, by conducting investigations, carrying out projects, and in general, seeking answers to enduring questions regarding our land and seascapes and our role to protect them. (View details of our ongoing research by clicking here). Members of the CLCC Scientific Community include ecologists, biologists, chemists, hydrologists, oceanographers, physicists, modelers, spatial analysts, data managers, sociologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, political scientists, geographers, economists, and planners. Science providers and users that are associated with agencies, universities, advocacy organizations, or the private sector are welcome to join the CLCC to inform landscape conservation efforts in the Caribbean. With our partners, the CLCC funds research projects that examines how habitats, species, and society respond to landscape level stressors, like climate change, shifts in land-use, urban expansion, agricultural and fishing changes, and invasive species. View past or ongoing research projects here.

Conservation Action Teams/Practitioner Community: Conservation Action Teams are where science meets the road. CLCC teams work together on actions that facilitate conservation of land and seascapes valued by citizens to improve water quality and habitats, sustain working lands and seas, enhance urban forests and green areas, and preserve and restore historic and cultural treasures. Members of the CLCC Practitioner Community include public servants in government agencies, community leaders, advocates, educators, scientists and researchers, students, business owners, and concerned citizens. Every year the CLCC supports and/or funds conservation action projects that assist habitats, species, and society respond to landscape level stressors, like climate change, shifts in land-use, urban expansion, agricultural and fishing changes, and invasive species.  Current Conservation Action Teams (CATs) include: Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT); Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation Conservation Action Team (Dune-CAT); and the Cay Systems Conservation Action Team (Cays-CAT).