|value||Climate change, precipitation variability, and LULC change are pervasive influences on hydrologic cycles, biodiversity, carbon and greenhouse gas fluxes, and many other ecological processes. Scientists examining potential future changes in these processes require spatially explicit, LULC projections that include impacts of climate and precipitation variability. Similarly, planners, policy-makers, and other decision-makers require LULC projections to understand the impacts and feedbacks of climate and land-use change. USGS EROS has produced unprecedented national-scale LULC projections for four IPCC scenarios from 1992 to 2100. However, the characteristics of these data may not meet the needs of many stakeholders. Tools are required that allow stakeholders to develop their own customized climate-based LULC projections to support their unique conservation application.
This work would facilitate the development of a stand-alone modeling tool that enables stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-based LULC projections to satisfy the needs of their specific conservation application. Primary project partners USGS EROS and South Dakota State University will lead the work, including development of the model. Stakeholders will participate in the project through two workshops, designed to gather stakeholder needs for a climate-based LULC model, and to apply and evaluate the model. Proposal funds would be used for transferring and consolidating LULC modeling techniques developed at USGS EROS and SDSU, and to conduct stakeholder workshops. Basic conceptual elements from the USGS EROS “FORE-SCE” model and SDSU’s “CHANGE” model would be used in construction of the final model, along with other components as suggested by stakeholder participants. Users of the final software tool would be able to build customized, scenario-based models of landscape change, including integrated assessment of both anthropogenic (i.e., land-use change) and natural (i.e., vegetation succession, fire, and climate-based vegetation shifts) landscape change.
Proposal funds would be used for five primary purposes:
1) Conduct an initial workshop of stakeholders to gather aggregate requirements for a stand-alone climate-based LULC model. A diverse set of stakeholders (scientists, land-use planners, policy-makers, and others who require projected land-use data) would be invited to participate. The in-person workshop would gather individual needs for projected, climate-based LULC information, and work towards a set of common framework characteristics that would maximize potential use across all stakeholder groups.
2) Design and construct an integrated climate-based LULC model for use by external stakeholders, using workshop results as guidance. Development of the model will focus not only on functionality (ability to model the complete suite of potential landscape changes under a changing climate), but on a user-friendly interface, allowing stakeholders to easily produce their own climate-based LULC projections.
3) Complete a web-based modeling resource. This resource would include (1) data sets to support modeling activities, 2) model support, including model documentation and user discussion sections, and 3) resource sharing, where users could freely share both supporting data and model results.
4) Conduct a second workshop to apply and evaluate the model. Stakeholders will use the new model, along with the necessary (supplied) data and support tools, to generate customized climate-based LULC projections to suit their own needs. Users will be asked to formally evaluate the model, and provide suggestions for future research and model development.
5) Complete a peer-reviewed journal paper summarizing the research and results.
The net outcome of the work will be the design of new LULC modeling software suitable for use by variety of stakeholders across the SC-CSC region, enabling stakeholders to explore, assess, and potentially mitigate the impacts of climate on LULC change and an array of ecological processes. The proposal builds on LULC modeling activities developed at USGS EROS and SDSU, and will leverage existing USGS funding streams available to the principal investigator to contribute to the completion of the work.
This work directly addresses SC-CSC proposal calls to:
• Enable the “development of climate and ecological models and other decision support tools for natural and cultural resource managers.”
• Provides “relevant tools, data sets, models, etc. that help natural and cultural resource managers make decisions at a landscape scale.”
• “Develops technology transfer tools to evaluate scenarios of climate change on water management, ground water and surface water availability, economics and potential land-use changes.”
• “Identify major ecosystem drivers and disturbances across the South Central Region with a focus on fire and drought.”