In northeastern Minnesota, moose, lynx, and wolves roam the vast wilderness of Superior National Forest. Bass and trout splash in lakes and streams.

It’s a large region with rich and diverse habitats that provide homes for many plants and animals. So it’s an important resource – especially as the climate warms and species’ geographic ranges shift.

“Places like the Northwoods of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where we do have a lot of intact forests, a lot of good natural communities, are going to be really critical to allow nature to adapt to the changing climate,” says Michael Pressman of the Nature Conservancy.

The organization has identified undeveloped, interconnected lands across the country. And it’s prioritizing its conservation efforts in these areas. 

The Nature Conservancy recently bought more than 2,000 acres of private land in Superior National Forest. The purchase will help prevent future development in critical habitat.

“Nature is moving in response to a changing climate,” Pressman says. “And nature doesn’t move well when it’s fragmented, when there are lots of roads, lots of buildings, lots of parking lots.”

So making sure that large areas of undeveloped land remain intact can help provide refuge for wildlife, now and in the future.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media