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Scientists, planners, policy makers and other decision-makers in the South Central U.S. want to understand the potential impacts of changes in climate, precipitation, and land-use patterns on natural and cultural resources. Though the potential impacts of climate change can be modeled to help decision-makers plan for future conditions, these models rarely incorporate changes in land-use that may occur. Climate change and land-use change are often linked, as shifts in precipitation and temperature can alter patterns in human land-use activities, such as agriculture. This project sought to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use...
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Appropriate ecological indicators of climate change can be used to measure concurrent changes in ecological systems, inform management decisions, and potentially to project the consequences of climate change. However, many of the available indicators for North American birds do not account for imperfect observation. We proposed to use correlated-detection occupancy models to develop indicators from the North American Breeding Bird Survey data. The indicators were used to test hypotheses regarding changes in range and distribution of breeding birds. The results will support the Northeast Climate Science Center’s Science Agenda, including the science priority: researching ecological vulnerability and species response...
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The South Central U.S. is one of the main agricultural regions in North America: annual agricultural production is valued at more than $44 billion dollars. However, as climate conditions change, the region is experiencing more frequent and severe droughts, with significant impacts on agriculture and broader consequences for land management. For example, in 2011 drought caused an estimated $7.6 billion in agricultural losses in Texas and an additional $1.6 billion in Oklahoma. Although there are many drought monitoring tools available, most of these tools were developed without input from the stakeholders, such as farmers and ranchers, who are intended to use them. The goal of this project was to assess the information...
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The sky island forests of the southwestern United States are one of the most diverse temperate forest ecosystems in the world, providing key habitat for migrating and residential species alike. Black bear, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and wild turkey are just a few of the species found in these isolated mountain ecosystems that rise out of the desert landscape. However, recent droughts have crippled these ecosystems, causing significant tree death. Climate predictions suggest that this region will only face hotter and drier conditions in the future, potentially stressing these ecosystems even further. Simple models predict that vegetation will move to cooler and wetter locations in response to this warming. However,...
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There is growing evidence that headwater stream ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changing climate and land use, but managers are challenged by the need to address these threats at a landscape scale, often through coordination with multiple management agencies and landowners. This project sought to provide an example of cooperative landscape decision-making by addressing the conservation of headwater stream ecosystems in the face of climate change at the watershed scale. Predictive models were built for critical resources to examine the effects of the potential alternative actions on the objectives, taking account of climate effects and examining whether there are key uncertainties that impede decision making....
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Northeastern boreal forests are an important habitat type for many wildlife species, including migratory birds and moose. These animals play vital roles in the boreal forest ecosystem, are a source of pleasure for bird and wildlife watchers, and contribute to tourism revenue for many communities. However, moose and migratory birds are thought to be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For example, in New York’s Adirondack Park system, five species of boreal birds have shown occupancy declines of 15% or more. Meanwhile, moose are threatened by winter ticks that thrive in warmer climates and spread disease. A 2018 New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) report found that there...
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The South Central U.S. encompasses a wide range of ecosystem types and precipitation patterns. Average annual precipitation is less than 10 inches in northwest New Mexico but can exceed 60 inches further east in Louisiana. Much of the region relies on warm-season convective precipitation – that is, highly localized brief but intense periods of rainfall that are common in the summer. This type of precipitation is a significant driver of climate and ecosystem function in the region, but it is also notoriously difficult to predict since it occurs at such small spatial and temporal scales. While global climate models are helpful for understanding and predicting large-scale precipitation trends, they often do not capture...
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These data describe the status of eggs in nests which had a foster egg added to them as part of an effort to relocate a common tern colony on Poplar Island. One data file (McGowanEtAl2018_FosterNestData_Data.csv) contains the data regarding the observations, while one definitions file (McGowanEtAl2018_FosterNestData_Definitions.csv) details the data.
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Hawaiʻi is considered a worldwide biodiversity hotspot, with nearly 90 percent of its native plants found nowhere else in the world. However, about half of these native plants are imperiled by threats including human development, non-native species, and climate change. Through this project, scientists modeled the relative vulnerability of over 1,000 native plant species to the effects of climate change. A panel of experts in Hawaiian plant species assisted with the development of the model and verified its results. From the model, researchers were able to develop a vulnerability score for each plant species and identify categories of species with high, medium, and low vulnerability to climate change. This information...
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The Pacific Ocean is home to a number of low-lying, coastal national parks and wildlife refuges. These public lands are situated on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise and flooding during storms. Because of their low-lying nature and limited availability of space, ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on these islands are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Sea-level rise will further exacerbate the impact of storms on island parks and refuges by increasing wave-driven coastal flooding, with consequences for ecological and human communities alike. However, most assessments of future conditions at coastal national parks and refuges consider only permanent...
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The beaches of the Hawaiian Islands attract nearly 9 million visitors each year, who inject around $15.6 billion into the state’s economy and support almost 200,000 jobs. Beyond their economic importance, Hawaiian beaches are also culturally and ecologically valuable. However, climate change driven sea-level rise is causing many beaches to disappear, endangering property, infrastructure, and critical habitats. The goal of this project was to develop a method for forecasting erosion-vulnerable beach areas that could be used in coastal management planning. Researchers focused on the island of Kauaʻi, modeling beach response to rising sea level over the next century and producing maps that provide information about...
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Coastal wetlands and the many beneficial services they provide (e.g., purifying water, buffering storm surge, providing habitat) are changing and disappearing as a result of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Scientists have developed a wealth of information and resources to predict and aid decision-making related to sea-level rise. However, while some of these resources are easily accessible by coastal managers, many others require more expert knowledge to understand or utilize. The goal of this project was to collate science and models pertaining to the effects of sea-level on coastal wetlands into a format that would be accessible and useful to resource managers. Researchers conducted training sessions...
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Assessing the impact of flow alteration on aquatic ecosystems has been identified as a critical area of research nationally and in the Southeast U.S. This project aimed to address the Ecohydrology Priority Science Need of the SE CSC FY2012 Annual Science Work Plan by developing an inventory and evaluation of current efforts and knowledge gaps in hydrological modeling for flow-­‐ecology science in global change impact studies across the Southeast. To accomplish this goal, we completed a thorough synthesis and evaluation of hydrologic modeling efforts in the Southeast region (including all states of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,...
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National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) along the East Coast of the United States protect habitat for a host of wildlife species, while also offering storm surge protection, improving water quality, supporting nurseries for commercially important fish and shellfish, and providing recreation opportunities for coastal communities. Yet in the last century, coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development activities as well as sea-level rise and more frequent extreme events related to climate change. These influences threaten the ability of NWRs to protect our nation’s natural resources and to sustain their many beneficial services. Through this project, researchers are collaborating with...
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Sport fisheries of lakes are embedded in complex system of ecological and social interactions. The multiple drivers that affect lake sport fisheries, along with the complex interactions within lakes, make it difficult to forecast changes in sport fisheries and plan adaptive responses to build resilience of these important resources. Resilience involves managing with an eye toward critical thresholds for behavior of ecosystems. Project researchers are working to develop quantitative tools for assessment of thresholds in sport fisheries that can be used by management agencies to evaluate potential impacts of climate change mediated through species and habitat interactions. Several outputs of the project will be adaptable...
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Streamflow in the Colorado River is heavily influenced by high-elevation snowpack. Warming temperatures in spring can reduce snow-fed flows, with serious implications for the water supplies that support communities and wildlife. While it is already well-known that precipitation has a significant influence on river flow, recent observations suggest that temperature and the amount of water in soil may also influence streamflow. In the face of a changing climate, it is important that resource managers understand how factors such as changing temperatures and precipitation will affect this vital water source. To address this need, researchers are examining records of streamflow, temperature, soil moisture, and precipitation...
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The 2017 fire season in California was highly unusual with its late seasonal timing, the areal extent it burned, and its devastation to communities. These fires were associated with extreme winds and were potentially also influenced by unusually dry conditions during several years leading up to the 2017 events. This fire season brought additional attention and emphasized the vital need for managers in the western U.S. to have access to scientific information on when and where to expect dangerous fire events. Understanding the multiple factors that cause extreme wildfire events is critical to short and long-term forecasting and planning. Seasonal climate measures such as temperature and precipitation are commonly...
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Hawaiian shorelines and near-shore waters have long been used for cultural activities, food gathering and fishing, and recreation. As seascapes are physically altered by changing climate, the ways in which people experience these environments will likely change as well. Local perspectives of how seascapes are changing over time can help managers better understand and manage these areas for both natural persistence and human use. For this project, researchers conducted interviews and surveys of surfers and other ocean users to gather observations and perceptions of change over time at Hilo Bay, Hawaiʻi. They combined these results with historical data on public beach use and biophysical data from monitoring buoys...
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Throughout its native range in the Eastern U.S., the brook trout is a culturally and economically important species that is sensitive to warming stream temperatures and habitat degradation. The purpose of this assessment was to determine the impacts that projected future land use and climate changes might have on the condition of stream habitat to support self-sustaining brook trout populations. The study region encompassed the historic native range of brook trout, which includes the northeastern states and follows the Appalachian Mountains south to Georgia, where the distribution is limited to higher elevation streams with suitable water temperatures. Relationships between recent observations of brook trout and...
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The Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northwest Environment project (an FY2012 NW CSC funded project), resulted in several datasets describing projected changes in climate, hydrology and vegetation for the 21st century over the Northwestern US. The raw data is available in netCDF format, which is a standard data file format for weather forecasting/climate change/GIS applications. However, the sheer size of these datasets and the specific file format (netCDF) for data access pose significant barriers to data access for many users. This is a particular challenge for many natural/cultural resource managers and others working on conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest. The goal of this project was to increase...


map background search result map search result map Evaluating the Use of Models for Projecting Future Water Flow in the Southeast A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models Projected Vulnerability of Brook Trout to Climate and Land Use Changes in the Eastern U.S. (Regional Assessment) Projecting the Future of Headwater Streams to inform Management Decisions Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Improving Representation of Extreme Precipitation Events in Regional Climate Models Developing Effective Drought Monitoring Tools for Farmers and Ranchers in the South Central U.S. Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Climate Change and Resilience of Sport Fisheries in Lakes Forecasting Beach Loss from Sea-Level Rise on the Island of Kauaʻi Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Avian Indicators of Climate Change Based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Integrating Climate Change Research and Planning to Inform Wildlife Conservation in the Boreal Forests of the Northeastern U.S. Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity Promoting Change in Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Nest Site Selection to Minimize Construction Related Disturbance The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands Promoting Change in Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Nest Site Selection to Minimize Construction Related Disturbance Forecasting Beach Loss from Sea-Level Rise on the Island of Kauaʻi Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Integrating Climate Change Research and Planning to Inform Wildlife Conservation in the Boreal Forests of the Northeastern U.S. Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Climate Change and Resilience of Sport Fisheries in Lakes Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity Improving Representation of Extreme Precipitation Events in Regional Climate Models Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Projected Vulnerability of Brook Trout to Climate and Land Use Changes in the Eastern U.S. (Regional Assessment) Developing Effective Drought Monitoring Tools for Farmers and Ranchers in the South Central U.S. A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models Projecting the Future of Headwater Streams to inform Management Decisions Evaluating the Use of Models for Projecting Future Water Flow in the Southeast Avian Indicators of Climate Change Based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands