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Amy J. Symstad

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Wind Cave National Park (WICA) protects one of the world’s longest caves, has large amounts of high quality, native vegetation, and hosts a genetically important bison herd. The park’s relatively small size and unique purpose within its landscape requires hands-on management of these and other natural resources, all of which are interconnected. Anthropogenic climate change presents an added challenge to WICA natural resource management because it is characterized by large uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of park and National Park Service (NPS) staff. When uncertainty is high and control of this uncertainty low, scenario planning is an appropriate tool for determining future actions. In 2009, members...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Karst aquifers—formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone—are critical groundwater resources in North America, and karst springs, caves, and streams provide habitat for unique flora and fauna. Springflow and groundwater levels in karst terrane can change greatly over short time scales, and therefore are likely to respond rapidly to climate change. How might the biological communities and ecosystems associated with karst respond to climate change and accompanying changes in groundwater levels and springflow? Sites in two central U.S. regions—the Balcones Escarpment of south-central Texas and the Black Hills of western South Dakota (fig. 1)—were selected to study climate change and its potential...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Indicators of rangeland health generally do not include a measure of biodiversity. Increasing attention to maintaining biodiversity in rangelands suggests that this omission should be reconsidered, and plant species richness and diversity are two metrics that may be useful and appropriate. Ideally, their response to a variety of anthropogenic and natural drivers in the ecosystem of interest would be clearly understood, thereby providing a means to diagnose the cause of decline in an ecosystem. Conceptual ecological models based on ecological principles and hypotheses provide a framework for this understanding, but these models must be supported by empirical evidence if they are to be used for decision making. To...
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This data release contains data discussed in its larger work citation (Symstad et al., 2017, Climate Risk Management 17:78-91, Associated Item at right). "ClimateComparisonData.csv" contains summary metrics of six climate projections used as climate input for quantitative simulations of hydrologic and ecological responses to climate change at Wind Cave National Park (WCNP) and the same summary metrics for 38 other climate projections available at the time that these simulations were done. "HydroData.csv" contains mean annual streamflow of a stream in WCNP and mean annual hydraulic head of a subterranean lake in Wind Cave as simulated by the rainfall-response aquifer and watershed flow (RRAWFLOW) model for two climate...
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The National Park Service is concerned that increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition caused by fossil fuel combustion and agricultural activities could adversely affect the northern Great Plains (NGP) ecosystems in its trust. The critical load concept facilitates communication between scientists and policy makers or land managers by translating the complex effects of air pollution on ecosystems into concrete numbers that can be used to inform air quality targets. A critical load is the exposure level below which significant harmful effects on sensitive elements of the environment do not occur. A recent review of the literature suggested that the nitrogen critical load for Great Plains vegetation is 10-25 kg N/ha/yr....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Natural Resource Report
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