Identifying refugia from climate change

Author(s): Michael B. Ashcrof

Source: Journal of Biogeography. 37(8): 1407–1413. | Type: Article | Year: 2010

This article highlights how the loose definition of the term ‘refugia’ has led to discrepancies in methods used to assess the vulnerability of species to the current trend of rising global temperatures. The term ‘refugia’ is commonly used without distinguishing between macrorefugia and microrefugia, ex situ refugia and in situ refugia, glacial and interglacial refugia or refugia based on habitat stability and refugia based on climatic stability. It is not always clear which definition is being used, and this makes it difficult to assess the appropriateness of the methods employed. For example, it is crucial to develop accurate fine-scale climate grids when identifying microrefugia, but coarse-scale macroclimate might be adequate for determining macrorefugia. Similarly, identifying in situ refugia might be more appropriate for species with poor dispersal ability but this may overestimate the extinction risk for good dispersers. More care needs to be taken to properly define the context when referring to refugia from climate change so that the validity of methods and the conservation significance of refugia can be assessed.

Guiding concepts for park and wilderness stewardship in an era of global environmental change

Author(s): Richard J. Hobbs, David N. Cole, Laurie Yung, Erika S. Zavaleta, Gregory H. Aplet, F Stuart Chapin III, Peter B. Landres, David J. Parsons, Nathan L. Stephenson, Peter S. White, David M. Graber, Eric S. Higgs, Constance I. Millar, John M. Randall, Kathy A. Tonnessen, and Stephen Woodley

Source: Front Ecol Environ 2010, 8(9): 483–490 | Type: Article | Year: 2009

The major challenge to stewardship of protected areas is to decide where, when, and how to intervene in physical and biological processes, to conserve what we value in these places. To make such decisions, planners and managers must articulate more clearly the purposes of parks, what is valued, and what needs to be sustained.

Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers

Author(s): Chris Swanston, Maria Janowiak

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-87. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. | Type: Report | Year: 2012

The forests of northern Wisconsin, a defining feature of the region’s landscape, are expected to undergo numerous changes in response to the changing climate. This document provides a collection of resources designed to help forest managers incorporate climate change considerations into management and devise adaptation tactics. It was developed in northern Wisconsin as part of the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework project and contains information from assessments, partnership efforts, workshops, and collaborative work between scientists and managers. The four interrelated chapters include: (1) a description of the overarching Climate Change Response Framework, a landscape-scale conservation approach also being expanded to other landscapes; (2) a “menu” of adaptation strategies and approaches that are directly relevant to forests in northern Wisconsin; (3) a workbook process to help incorporate climate change considerations into forest management planning and to assist land managers in developing groundlevel climate adaptation tactics for forest ecosystems; and (4) two illustrations that provide examples of how these resources can be used in real-world situations. The ideas, tools, and resources presented in the different chapters are intended to inform and support the existing decisionmaking processes of multiple organizations with diverse management goals.

Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Climate Change Response Framework Project in Northern Wisconsin

Author(s): Chris Swanston, Maria Janowiak, Louis Iverson, Linda Parker, David Mladenoff, Leslie Brandt, Patricia Butler, Matt St. Pierre, Anantha Prasad, Stephen Matthews, Matthew Peters, Dale Higgins, and Avery Dorland

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-82. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. | Type: Example / Case Study | Year: 2011

The forests of northern Wisconsin will likely experience dramatic changes over the next 100 years as a result of climate change. This assessment evaluates key forest ecosystem vulnerabilities to climate change across northern Wisconsin under a range of future climate scenarios with a focus on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. We describe the contemporary landscape and major existing climate trends using state climatological data, as well as potential future climate trends for this region using downscaled global data from general circulation models. We identify potential vulnerabilities by incorporating these future climate projections into species distribution and ecosystem process models and assessing potential changes to northern Wisconsin forests. Warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns are expected to infl uence ecosystem drivers and increase stressors, including more frequent disturbances and increased amount or severity of pests and diseases. Forest ecosystems will continue to adapt to changing conditions. Even under conservative climate change scenarios, suitable habitat for many tree species is expected to move northward. Many species, including balsam fi r, white spruce, paper birch, and quaking aspen, are projected to decline as their suitable habitat decreases in quality and extent. Certain species, communities, and ecosystems may not be particularly resilient to the increases in stress or changes in habitat, and they may be subject to severe declines in abundance or may be lost entirely from the landscape. These include fragmented and static ecosystems, as well as ecosystems containing rare species or species already in decline. Identifying vulnerable species and forests can help landowners, managers, regulators, and policymakers establish priorities for management and monitoring.

Conservation Easements and Climate Change

Author(s): Daniel L. Aaronson, Michael B. Manue

Source: Sustainable Development Law & Policy. 8(2): 27-29. | Type: | Year: 2008

Governments at all levels are increasingly engaging the challenges posed by global climate change. Conservation easements have provided income tax deductions to their grantors for decades in recognition of certain special benefits afforded by the conservation of land subject to the easement.1 As policy makers search for effective means to address climate change issues, conservation easements may well be recognized as an important tool. However, the current law of conservation easements does not recognize the full potential for carbon capture resulting from land conservation, in part because the tax code limits the types of land that may benefit from such easements. Current laws will need to be revised and expanded to better recognize the climate change benefits that could be achieved from placing land under conservation easements.

Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast

Author(s): Peter C. Frumhoff, James J. McCarthy, Jerry M. Melillo, Susanne C. Moser, Donald J. Wuebbles

Source: Synthesis report of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA). Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). | Type: Report | Year: 2007

Climate-Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice

Author(s): Stein, B.A., P. Glick, N. Edelson, and A. Staudt

Source: National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC. | Type: Manual / Guide | Year: 2014

Climate change and the migration capacity of species

Author(s): Richard G. Pearson

Source: Trends Ecol Evol.21(3):111-3. | Type: Article | Year: 2006

In a recent paper, McLachlan et al. presented evidence that migration rates of two tree species at the end of the last glacial (c. 10-20 thousand years ago) were much slower than was previously thought. These results provide an important insight for climate-change impacts studies and suggest that the ability of species to track future climate change is limited. However, the detection of late-glacial refugia close to modern range limits also implies that some of our most catastrophic projections might be overstated.

Climate Change and Forests of the Future: Managing in the Face of Uncertainty

Author(s): Constance I. Millar, Nathan L. Stephenson, Scott L. Stephens

Source: Ecological Applications. 17(8): 2145–2151. | Type: Article | Year: 2007

We offer a conceptual framework for managing forested ecosystems under an assumption that future environments will be different from present but that we cannot be certain about the specifics of change. We encourage flexible approaches that promote reversible and incremental steps, and that favor ongoing learning and capacity to modify direction as situations change. We suggest that no single solution fits all future challenges, especially in the context of changing climates, and that the best strategy is to mix different approaches for different situations. Resources managers will be challenged to integrate adaptation strategies (actions that help ecosystems accommodate changes adaptively) and mitigation strategies (actions that enable ecosystems to reduce anthropogenic influences on global climate) into overall plans. Adaptive strategies include resistance options (forestall impacts and protect highly valued resources), resilience options (improve the capacity of ecosystems to return to desired conditions after disturbance), and response options (facilitate transition of ecosystems from current to new conditions). Mitigation strategies include options to sequester carbon and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Priority-setting approaches (e.g., triage), appropriate for rapidly changing conditions and for situations where needs are greater than available capacity to respond, will become increasingly important in the future.