Climate Change Pilot Project

South Kingstown Land Trust was invited by the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center (CRC) to participate in a pilot project to investigate how climate change could impact land trusts – whether impacts to our land holdings themselves or to our priorities for preservation. For Rhode Island, the likely effects of climate change will include sea-level rise and increases in air and water temperature, precipitation, and storminess. The study was funded by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

SKLT was pleased to work on the leading edge of thinking about land trusts’ role and response to climate change. Since we already see effects of changing climate on our lands and in daily life, we were eager to explore how to safeguard our investments in land already protected and think about how to perhaps prioritize our future work with additional information.

As part of the study, SKLT worked with CRC to identify the key habitat types that we protect and to characterize the vulnerability of those habitats to climate change. We explored management options, such as planting shade cover along cold-water streams to try to protect species that need cool waters, and focused on understanding the disruptive effects of invasive plants in our forests. Click here to see the complete report posted on the Rhode Island Sea Grant website.