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Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S.

NC CSC Foundational Science: Impacts and Vulnerability FY17
Principal Investigator
Andrew Hansen


Start Date
End Date


Researchers with the North Central Climate Science Center have made substantial progress in assessing the impacts of climate and land use change on wildlife and ecosystems across the region. Building on this progress, researchers will work with stakeholders to identify adaptation strategies and inform resource management in the areas that will be most affected by changing conditions. There are several components of this project. First, researchers will use the Department of Interior “resource briefs” as a mechanism to communicate information to resource managers on climate and land use change and their impacts to resources. These briefs will support coordinated management of ecosystems that contain public, private, and tribal lands. [...]

Child Items (3)


Principal Investigator :
Andrew Hansen
Funding Agency :
North Central CSC

Attached Files

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“Rocky Mountain National Park - Credit: Alan Cressler”
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In the first phase of the Impacts and Vulnerability project, we have made substantial progress in assessing climate and land use change impacts across the NC CSC domain. These include: quantifying the rates of land use change in and around the protected area systems, determining the extent of fragmentation in major ecosystems, assessing evaporative demands, and predicting forest ecosystem responses to climate change. We found that rates of climate and land use change varied across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, as did the responses of ecosystems to these changes. We also identified the major locations highly impacted by these changes that call for crafting locally relevant adaptation strategies to cope with these changes. Now, the second phase of the project (FY’17) aims at generating coproduction of knowledge targeting a wide range of stakeholders to support decision makers for the management and conservation of affected areas. During the FY’17 phase of the project, we will focus on working with various user groups to evaluate potential land use and climate impacts and adaptation strategies for the most affected areas and ecosystem types identified by our previous work. Specifically, we will focus on forest and shrubland vegetation and habitat of a selected wildlife species (wolverine) in the Rocky Mountains and Washington Cascade regions. We will design resource briefs on land use and climate change assessments of selected areas and ecosystem types to provide information to coordinated management. In addition to resource briefs, our approach will be to convene a series of webinars and workshops with federal, private, and NGO stakeholders (including the whitebark pine team) to draw on all of the science results (e.g., from species distribution models, state and transition models, and mechanistic models) to identify and evaluate vegetation climate adaptation strategies that are robust under climate uncertainty. This project team is part of the North Central Climate Science Center’s Foundational Science Area Team, which supports foundational research and advice, guidance, and technical assistance to other NC CSC projects as they address climate science challenges that are important for land managers and ecologists in the region.

Project Extension

projectStatusIn Progress
typeTechnical Summary
valueGoal and Objectives for Ecological Impacts In its first five year period, the NC CSC developed the technical and science capacity to support climate adaptation and developed relationships with various natural resources managers and other stakeholders. During the FY17 funding period this capacity will be focused on coproduction of knowledge with stakeholders to support management decisions. Thus, the primary goal of the project is to work with user groups to identify and evaluate potential climate impacts and adaptation strategies across the domain, with a focus on forest and shrubland vegetation and select wildlife species in the Rocky Mountains. Specific objectives are as follows. 1. Provide information on climate and land use change and ecological response to resource managers across the domain via DOI-style resource briefs. 2. Support development of a multistate wolverine (Gulo gulo) management plan by providing forecasts of forest response to climate change to the Wolverine State Wildlife Action Plan Working Group. 3. Facilitate co-learning for vegetation climate adaptation with federal and private resource managers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and High Divide regions to develop management guidelines robust under future scenarios.

Budget Extension

typeAward Type
typeAward Number

Rocky Mountain National Park - Credit: Alan Cressler
Rocky Mountain National Park - Credit: Alan Cressler


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • North Central CASC


Fiscal Year
Science Themes
Wildlife and Plants



Additional Information

Alternate Titles


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 52388278-93de-4213-8652-9e0aa8034dc5
StampID NCCWSC NC17-HA1228

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