This article was featured in the 2024 Winter Newsletter by Rob Willaims-SLELO PRISM.

In support of and to strengthen conservation outcomes of the NYS DEC’s Comprehensive Invasive Species Management Plan, the SLELO PRISM’s strategic approach addresses invasive species issues by aligning with key strategies. This includes an integrated approach to protecting, enhancing, and preserving lands and waters in the Eastern Lake Ontario region that leverages science, innovation, and a proven track record of success. To meet our objectives, we consider the following when developing and scoping programs and projects.

Natural Climate Solutions via Green Infrastructure: By implementing ecological- restoration measures post-invasive species management, we foster biological diversity and ecosystem site stability which play a key role in sustaining healthy stable natural areas e.g., climate-ready green infrastructure.

Carbon Sequestration: Maintaining the carbon sequestration potential of places like Tug Hill by reducing the threat from invasive species is an important strategy for success. A recent study showed forest plots damaged by insect pests stored 69% less carbon than less disturbed plots and plots recently impacted by disease stored about 28% less carbon (Quirion et al 2021). SLELO’s efforts to slow the spread of forest pests and pathogens is a key strategy for sequestering carbon in regional forests.

Conservation of Connected Lands and Waters: Incorporated into the work of the SLELO PRISM is a resilient and connected lands approach that allows us to maximize conservation impact at scale and the ability of natural systems to sustain themselves in the realm of climate change. The combined work of the SLELO PRISM and multiple partners across the region continues to minimize the impact of invasive species on 7.4 million acres of NY’s resilient and connected lands, waters, and wetlands that are at risk.

Recover Ecosystem Resilience and Promote Biodiversity: Implementing effective management on public and private lands to improve the resilience and health of terrestrial and aquatic systems is paramount to maintaining healthy lands and waters. In the Eastern Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Region, SLELO partners are helping to prevent new infestations of invasive species and are restoring invaded lands to natural conditions. This success directly contributes to “managing for resilience” goals shared by our partner organization, TNC, and to the conservation benefits desired under the NYS Invasive Species Comprehensive Management Plan.

Combined, these attributes in the context of a changing climate, serve to strengthen our conservation outcomes and biodiversity in our region.


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