Climate Science Centers (CSCs)

Working together to provide scientific information, tools, and support for decisions to conserve large connected areas that sustain natural and cultural resources and people in a rapidly changing world.

CSC Regions MapLandscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are non-regulatory conservation partnerships that have been established to help respond to environmental stressors that transcend state lines and are beyond the organizational ability of any one agency. LCCs are the primary stakeholders of the Department of the Interior’s CSCs. CSCs provide decision-focused research, information products, and tools to inform landscape-scale conservation plans developed by LCCs. By connecting science with on-the-ground management, LCC and CSC scientists and staff work with resource managers to develop vital tools and understanding to help natural systems withstand a range of landscape-scale stressors magnified by a changing climate.

Common Priorities

  • Providing conservation and climate information for stakeholders to use in making management decisions.
  • Coordinating activities and best practices for effective conservation and climate adaptation.
  • Developing decision-support tools and products that engage a variety of stakeholders and address regional priorities.


Complementary Roles

  • CSCs seek to understand climate-related ecosystem vulnerabilities and adaptation issues. LCCs address a broader suite of conservation challenges specific to their regions, including climate and land use change.
  • Each CSC focuses on regional research objectives in direct response to the science needs developed by LCCs and conservation partners. This process promotes multi-scale science that links landscapes and communities within and beyond regional boundaries.
  • Each LCC provides a forum where a large suite of conservation partners can identify priority management problems, related objectives, and science needs and convey those to CSCs. This method promotes the interdisciplinary, regional-local, and public-private dialogue needed to respond effectively to challenges posed by climate change.


Working Together

  • CSCs and LCCs leverage the science capacity and management expertise of diverse partners to ensure efficient development and application of information.
  • CSCs and LCCs develop coordinated and complementary science programs, leveraging the most appropriate science assets (i.e., university, federal, other) across all science providers in the region.
  • Both CSCs and LCCs provide fundamental science support for decision-making by understanding priority objectives, assembling key datasets, and supporting the creation of models and web-based tools.
  • The collaboration of CSCs and LCCs ensures strong communications between scientists and managers across the landscape.

LCC-CSC Collaborations: Projects and Progress

Responding to change with a Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy

The Southeast Network of LCCs is using future change predictions from the Southeast and South Central Climate Science Centers to help identify the places and actions needed to sustain natural and cultural resources into the future. All Southeast LCCs are in the process of developing these shared action plans. The final integration of all Southeast LCC plans into a unified adaptation strategy is expected by 2016.

Coastal Wetland Habitat and Sea-Level Rise

Funds will be leveraged between several organizations to facilitate regional and local decision-making efforts to manage coastal wetlands and waterbird habitats in the face of sea level rise and increased coastal flooding. The Atlantic coastal LCCs (North and South Atlantic, Peninsular Florida and Caribbean) and CSCs (Northeast and Southeast) will work together by conducting joint planning and information-sharing workshops with National Wildlife Refuge Managers and other decision makers to identify areas of management concern and use these to frame a ‘problem statement’ that encompasses the complex, multi-scale nature of these issues and, at the same time, offers a logical and strategic approach to problem-solving. The project will capitalize on LCC and CSC networks to ensure that results and feedback are communicated in both directions.

Reducing Gulf Hypoxia and Helping Wildlife Impacted by Extreme Climate Events

Natural resources agencies and organizations throughout the Mississippi River basin have identified high nutrient runoff, a major contributor to Gulf hypoxia, and declines in wildlife populations as complex conservation challenges requiring collaborative action through the LCC network. With financial and technical support provided by the Northeast Climate Science Center as well as multiple federal, state and academic LCC partners across the basin, project coordinators are developing a spatial decision support system to identify watersheds within the Mississippi River basin where application of conservation practices can reduce nutrient export to the Gulf hypoxia zone and enhance conservation for grassland and riparian birds.  The project will identify landowners who are willing and capable of implementing these practices.  The decision support system will identify appropriate conservation practices to be implemented, and quantify resulting benefits for both nutrient export and bird habitat. The system will also enable analyses of whether landowner willingness to implement desired practices is affected by perceptions of climate extremes. This pilot effort seeks to move current conservation approaches to a more strategic level by identifying where to locate conservation, restoration and management efforts in critical watersheds for the greatest overall benefit to both people and wildlife.

LCCs (22 Nationwide)

Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands;   Arctic;  Appalachian;  California;  Caribbean;  Desert;  Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers;  Great Basin
Great Northern;  Great Plains;  Gulf Coast Prairie;  Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks;  North Atlantic;  North Pacific;  Northwest Boreal;
Pacific Islands;  Peninsular Florida;  Plains and Prairie Pothole;  South Atlantic;  Southern Rockies;  Upper Midwest and Great Lakes;  
Western Alaska

CSCs (8 Nationwide)

Alaska;  North Central;  Northeast;  Northwest;  Pacific Islands;  South CentralSoutheast;  Southwest


Why is conservation on a larger, landscape-sized scale important? Read more about Landscape Conservation Cooperatives here.

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