The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is using high-resolution data to find and protect important habitat features like wildlife road crossings.

The new data are available as part of a recent update to BioFinder, a free mapping tool that uses Vermont Conservation Design to show the state’s most important landscapes for wildlife and climate resilience.

“This update is a major step forward in mapping the connections between Vermont’s most important wildlife habitats,” said Jens Hawkins-Hilke, conservation planning biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “As wildlife populations adjust their ranges to a changing climate these connections will become even more important.”

According to the state, the updated Vermont Conservation Design analysis uses new data that is 60 times more detailed than previous versions. The Fish and Wildlife Department explained that the higher resolution data allows Vermont Conservation Design to accurately capture the edges of large areas of uninterrupted habitat, and the connections between them. With the online BioFinder tool, planners and conservation organizations can see those connecting landscapes in the areas where they work.

“We are watching species move in real time as a result of our changing climate,” said Gus Goodwin, senior conservation planner and ecologist with The Nature Conservancy. “Our state plays an outsized role in supporting that movement throughout the entire Northern Appalachians, a vision supported by the BioFinder tool. With these updates, Vermont Conservation Design is ready to help us meet the conservation challenges of the coming decade.”

Vermont Conservation Design and BioFinder were developed by a team led by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, along with scientists from the Nature Conservancy, the Northeast Wilderness Trust, the Vermont Land Trust, and the University of Vermont.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs