While we assessed the vulnerability of a number of different wildlife and plant species to climate change, none of those species exhibited high vulnerability to changes projected for the region and there was limited differentiation in vulnerability between the individual species. Given this shared level of vulnerability to climate change, we chose to focus our adaptation planning on grassland birds as they represent a large group with a diversity of habitat needs. These birds are obligate grassland wildlife species which have great potential to act as indicators for habitat quality since different species have distinct habitat structure needs. Participants in the adaptation planning workshop agreed that if the GP LCC is to meet the goals of sustaining grassland bird populations (and other Great Plains wildlife) across the region in light of climate change, the following will be required: An increase in the amount of grassland under conservation and grazing management to provide sufficiently large patches of diverse structural and compositional characteristics required by wildlife. Identification of several areas of contiguous grassland, with federal land included, to act as model landscapes for the creation and maintenance of structural and compositional heterogeneity at a scale relevant to wildlife, to “learn from doing”, generate best-management guidelines and monitor the success of management and policy actions. The use of a variety of policy and management tools at a landscape scale to address the stressors facing grasslands both now and in light of climate change. Engaging agricultural policy at the national, state, and county levels to develop programs that promote both ecological and economic values. Engaging private landowners to identify synergies between economics and managing for ecological diversity. Coordination across agencies and organizations to facilitate management, research and monitoring (as well as to unify datasets). Further emphasis on the need for adaptive approaches to making and implementing conservation and management decisions.
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