Keystone private lands house many of the most crucial habitats and productive open spaces that sustain our region’s natural and cultural wealth. They are helping reduce the pace of climate change while increasing the ability of the landscape to adjust. To this end, the Heart of the Rockies Initiative strives for three overarching goals:
1) To protect the most crucial core and connectivity habitats for our region’s unparalleled wildlife and fisheries, and;
2) To secure the long-term viability of our working lands heritage on ranches, farms and private land forests, and;
3) To sustain healthy and viable communities through protection of locally important open space.
Keystone private land conservation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting important lands, like wetlands, forests, peatlands and agricultural lands, that hold carbon. The conversion and degradation of these carbon-dense ecosystems to development releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Protecting what remains on a large scale will significantly contribute to carbon storage and help to reduce climate impacts.
Equally important, strategic conservation projects can increase the landscape’s resilience by protecting a diverse mix of vegetation types, migration corridors, core refuges and buffer zones that are needed as plants and animals adjust to changing habitats.