Manomet Sustainable Economies Program Director Andy Whitman told Maine legislators last month that the state’s leadership is urgently needed for climate adaptation efforts.


Whitman made his comments while testifying to the Maine Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Whitman was the lead author of Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine: Vulnerability of Habitats and Priority Species, a recent report that involved more than 100 scientists.


Whitman applauded the state’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for their conservation strategy and their use of the climate report in their work. He said, however, that more guidance was needed.


“I frequently encounter land trust staff and private forest landowners who want to address climate change who are hungry for information, hungry for leadership,” Whitman said. “We need more leadership and coordination within state government on this issue.”


Whitman told the joint committee that one-third of Maine’s land area is highly vulnerable to climate change.


“In this report, we focused primarily on species already at risk,” Whitman said. “Many of these species are associated with northern habitats and are now common in Maine but less common elsewhere in the U.S.  It included iconic species such as moose, common loon, Atlantic puffin, and landlocked salmon.”


Dave McGlinchey


Photo: Atlantic Puffin, by John Fuller