Exploring Pacific Northwest ecosystem resilience: packaging climate change science for federal managers
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Climate change is projected to jeopardize ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest. Managing ecosystems for future resilience requires collaboration, innovation and communication. The abundance of data and documents describing the uncertainty around both climate change projections and impacts has become challenging to managers who have little funding and limited time to digest and incorporate these materials into planning and implementation documents. We worked with US Forest Service and BLM managers to help them develop vulnerability assessments and identify on-the-ground strategies to address climate change challenges on the federal lands in northwest Oregon (Siuslaw, Willamette and Mt. Hood National Forests; Eugene and Salem BLM Districts). We held workshops to promote dialogue about climate change, which were particularly effective in fostering discussions between the managers who often do not have the time to share their knowledge and compare experiences across administrative boundaries. We used the Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework to identify measurable management objectives and rapidly assess local vulnerabilities. We used databasin.org to centralize usable information, including state-of-the-art CMIP5 climate projections, for the mandated assessments of vulnerability and resilience. We introduced participants to a decision support framework providing opportunities to develop more effective adaptation strategies. We built a special web page to hold the information gathered at the workshops and provide easy access to climate change information. We are now working with several Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) to design gateways - conservation atlases - to their relevant data repositories on databasin.org and working with them to develop web tools that can provide usable information for their own vulnerability assessments.