For management agencies, there is a growing need to understand (1) how climate change affects and will continue to affect wildlife populations of conservation concern, and (2) how the negative Upper Midwest Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Request for Funding 2013 demographic effects of climate change can be mitigated through management strategies. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) integrates available data and scientific understanding in a transparent process, details assumptions and uncertainties, and ultimately projects population-level responses of target species to future climate change. Climate change is already influencing distributions and abundances of species throughout North America, yet management strategies for coping with these changes have only recently begun to be developed. Doing so, however, will require understanding which particular climatic stressors are most important for different species, and which regions are most exposed to future climate variability.
Our primary management goal is to provide directed and spatially-explicit recommendations for climate change adaptation strategies of selected species of concern in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. We will achieve this goal by expanding on our development and testing the applicability of our CCVA framework to other species and other regions. By extending our research program in year 3 to include the direct incorporation of management scenarios into our demographic models, we intend to develop more robust methods for evaluating realistic management options under future climate change scenarios. Our research and proposed advances have direct relevance to multiple management agencies because CCVAs will need to be included in most natural resource management plans. Climate change is a key threat identified by the LCC’s, Joint Ventures, National Bird Conservation Initiative, and is a priority to be incorporated into State Agency Wildlife Action Plans (WAP) over the next few years.
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