Oases of the future? Springs as potential refugia in drying climates

Within arid regions, natural springs are biodiversity hotspots that have a strong influence on surrounding landscapes despite their small size. During previous periods of climate drying, some springs served as refugia for certain species. Understanding whether springs will continue to provide refuge under future climate change is key to land management and conservation but complicated by several factors, including hydrologic variability among springs, data limitations, and other groundwater threats. In this report, we present a framework for categorizing springs as potentially stable, relative, or transient refugia using several approaches, including citizen-science monitoring, remote sensing, landowner interviews, and environmental tracer analysis.