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USGS - science for a changing world


Sonia Hall

This Addendum describes the decision-support products the Arid Lands Initiative has developed and is using to facilitate partners’ transition from landscape planning to taking coordinate action guided by shared priorities, as the ALI partners strive to achieve landscape-scale conservation in eastern Washington’s arid lands.
Drylands cover 40% of the global terrestrial surface and provide important ecosystem services. While drylands as a whole are expected to increase in extent and aridity in coming decades, temperature and precipitation forecasts vary by latitude and geographic region suggesting different trajectories for tropical, subtropical, and temperate drylands. Uncertainty in the future of tropical and subtropical drylands is well constrained, whereas soil moisture and ecological droughts, which drive vegetation productivity and composition, remain poorly understood in temperate drylands. Here we show that, over the twenty first century, temperate drylands may contract by a third, primarily converting to subtropical drylands,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Drylands occur world-wide and are particularly vulnerable to climate change since dryland ecosystems depend directly on soil water availability that may become increasingly limited as temperatures rise. Climate change will both directly impact soil water availability, and also change plant biomass, with resulting indirect feedbacks on soil moisture. Thus, the net impact of direct and indirect climate change effects on soil moisture requires better understanding. We used the ecohydrological simulation model SOILWAT at sites from temperate dryland ecosystems around the globe to disentangle the contributions of direct climate change effects and of additional indirect, climate change-induced changes in vegetation on...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
The goal of the Wetlands in a Changing Climate project was to provide consistent, wall-to-wall data on wetland location, historical hydrologic dynamics, and projected climate change impacts on hydrologic dynamics. We worked with managers to determine what products would be most informative, and what approach would help them use these data products to develop recommendations for climate-smart conservation of wetlands across the Columbia Plateau.
Categories: Publication; Types: Downloadable; Tags: Northwest CSC, Wetlands
Abstract Landscape connectivity is crucial for many ecological processes, including dispersal, gene flow, demographic rescue, and movement in response to climate change. As a result, governmental and non-governmental organizations are focusing efforts to map and conserve areas that facilitate movement to maintain population connectivity and promote climate adaptation. In contrast, little focus has been placed on identifying barriers—landscape features which impede movement between ecologically important areas—where restoration could most improve connectivity. Yet knowing where barriers most strongly reduce connectivity can complement traditional analyses aimed at mapping best movement routes. We introduce a novel...
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