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Climate, Land Management and Future Wildlife Habitat in the Pacific Northwest

Dates

Start Date
2012
End Date
2014
Release Date
2012

Summary

In the Pacific Northwest, land and resource managers strive to make decisions that benefit both natural and human communities, balancing ecological and economic demands including wildlife habitat, forest products, forage for grazing, clean water, and wildfire control. Climate change adds a layer of complexity to the planning process because of its uncertain effects on the environment. In order to make sound decisions, managers need information about how climate change will affect wildlife habitat, both on its own and in conjunction with management actions. The goal of this project was to explore how future climate may interact with management alternatives to shape wildlife habitat across large landscapes. Scientists used computer simulations [...]

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Forest_Oregon_MPD.jpg
“Oregon forest - Public domain”
thumbnail 1.26 MB

Purpose

This study addressed the challenges faced by natural resource management planning in the context of climate change. We explored how future climate may interact with management alternatives to shape wildlife habitat across large landscapes. We studied habitat for the northern spotted owl in coastal Washington and southwestern Oregon, and habitat for the greater sage-grouse in southeastern Oregon. In coastal Washington, the primary threat to owl habitat is likely to be habitat loss as a result of increasing fire and shifts in vegetation with changing climate. These threats may not be fully mitigated with management. In southwest Oregon, increasing fire frequencies under climate change are also likely to pose the greatest threat to owl habitat. Management aimed at constraining fires is needed, but due to the scope of the problem, strategic fuel treatment management will be vital. In southeast Oregon, some threats to sage-grouse habitat are more manageable than others. Wildfire increased under all climate scenarios. Climatic constraints to sage-grouse from hotter, drier summers cannot be managed, but some effects of climate change may aid the goals of management. For instance, increasing fire frequency can help control juniper expansion. Unfortunately, invasive annual grasses are poised to invade much of the landscape at a rate that could exceed the capacity of management. While the task of maintaining and enhancing habitat across large, complicated landscapes in the face of climate change is daunting, this research yields information that is useful in setting management priorities and developing strategies for maintaining habitat and addressing other major goals in all three regions.

Project Extension

projectStatusCompleted

Budget Extension

annualBudgets
year2012
totalFunds130709.0
year2013
totalFunds135712.0
totalFunds266421.0

Additional Information

Expando Extension

object
agendas
themes
number1
nameClimate Science & Modeling
options
number2
nameResponse of Physical Systems to Climate Change
options
number3
nameResponse of Biological Systems to Climate Change
options
atrue
btrue
ctrue
dtrue
number4
nameVulnerability and Adaptation
options
atrue
ctrue
number5
nameMonitoring and Observation Systems
options
number6
nameData, Infrastructure, Analysis, and Modeling
options
ctrue
number7
nameCommunication of Science Findings
options
btrue
nameNorthwest CSC Agenda
urlhttp://www.doi.gov/csc/northwest/upload/NW-CSC-Science-Agenda-2012-2015.pdf

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