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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,...
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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...
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Inland fish populations are a crucial resource to humans and communities around the world. Recreational fishing throughout the United States, for example, provides important revenue to local and state economies; globally, inland fisheries are a vital food source for billions of people. Warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, however, are already causing significant changes to fish communities worldwide. Since the mid-1980s, scientists have projected the effects of climate change on inland fish, and in more recent years, documentation of impacts has increased. However, the number of documented impacts of climate change on inland fish remains low. A comprehensive understanding of how climate change...
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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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Forests are of tremendous ecological and economic importance. They provide natural places for recreation, clean drinking water, and important habitats for fish and wildlife. However, the warmer temperatures and harsher droughts in the west that are related to climate change are causing die-offs of many trees. Outbreaks of insects, like the mountain pine beetle, that kill trees are also more likely in warmer, drier conditions. To maintain healthy and functioning forest ecosystems, one action forest managers can take is to make management decisions that will help forests adapt to future climate change. However, adaptation is a process based on genetic change and few tools are currently available for managers to use...
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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 seeks to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use...
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The rugged landscapes of northern Idaho and western Montana support biodiverse ecosystems, and provide a variety of natural resources and services for human communities. However, the benefits provided by these ecosystems may be at risk as changing climate magnifies existing stressors and allows new stressors to emerge. Preparation for and response to these potential changes can be most effectively addressed through multi-stakeholder partnerships, evaluating vulnerability of important resources to climate change, and developing response and preparation strategies for managing key natural resources in a changing world. This project will support climate-smart conservation and management across forests of northern Idaho...
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Cheatgrass began invading the Great Basin about 100 years ago, changing large parts of the landscape from a rich, diverse ecosystem to one where a single invasive species dominates. Cheatgrass dominated areas experience more fires that burn more land than in native ecosystems, resulting in economic and resource losses. Therefore, the reduced production, or absence, of cheatgrass in previously invaded areas during years of adequate precipitation could be seen as a windfall. However, this cheatgrass dieoff phenomenon creates other problems for land managers like accelerated soil erosion, loss of early spring food supply for livestock and wildlife, and unknown recovery pathways. We used satellite data and scientific...
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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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Wildlife is an essential recreational, commercial, and cultural resource to communities worldwide, while also being vital to ecosystem health and function. For our purposes, the term wildlife encompasses mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds. As climate change and other anthropogenic activities continue to threaten wildlife at a global scale, continued research and increased understanding of the effects of climate change on organisms is imperative for future wildlife management and conservation. Researchers have been studying and speculating on the effects of climate change on wildlife for decades; thus, there is a large body of climate change and wildlife literature available. Traditional search engines...
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The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey have made it a priority to train the next generation of scientists and resource managers. The DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are working to contribute to this initiative by building and supporting a network of students across the country who are interested in understanding climate impacts and adaptation. This project will support the development of a national communications and networking resource for early career scientists, managers, and conservation practitioners. The goal of this project is to facilitate and increase information sharing across the eight regional CSCs and consortium institutions. This will be achieved by working with and expanding...
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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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The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), as part of the work of the Interagency Land Management Adaptation Group (ILMAG), initiated a project in 2013 to develop plans for a searchable, public registry on climate change vulnerability assessments. Member agencies from the USGCRP Adaptation Science Work Group, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and several NGO’s also contributed. Vulnerability assessments are important for identifying resources that are most likely to be affected by climate change and providing insights on why certain resources are vulnerable. Consequently, they provide valuable information for informing climate change adaptation planning. CRAVe allows...
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Social scientists funded through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the Climate Science Centers (CSCs) have an obligation to provide access to their climate science related research data. We suspect, as with other data types, that tools for creating and editing social science metadata specific to the climate science domain and linking the metadata to the actual data either do not exist or are non-intuitive for scientists. Through our research we sought to verify whether any definitive metadata tool for social scientists working in the climate science domain exists. We also sought to determine whether a commonly agreed upon social science metadata standard exists. We suspect that...
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of native species that have been subject to numerous threats including development of habitat for human use, predation by introduced herbivores, and competition with invasive plant species. In addition to these threats global climate change is expected to increase temperature and alter patterns of precipitation in Hawaii. This project models the relative vulnerability of native plant species to the effects of climate change, in order to assist resource managers in effectively allocating limited resources to efficiently preserve and protect current and future habitat for native plants. We modeled vulnerability by creating an expert system – a network model linking biological...
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The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, grasses, and herbaceous flowering plants that provide habitat for many native animals, including Greater Sage-Grouse. Changes in vegetation and fire management have been suggested with the intent of conserving Greater Sage-Grouse. However, the potential responses of other sensitive-status birds to these changes in management...
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This project is intended to increase the utility of the International Shorebird Survey (ISS) for making shorebird management and conservation decisions within the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative. A secondary goal is to create a single, effective data management system that can service all partners along the Atlantic coast (e.g., National Wildlife Refuges, South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative, and State Wildlife Areas). Ultimately, the ISS data management system would be equivalent to the Northeast Avian Data Center and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory Avian Data Center.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently completed an unprecedented assessment of almost 14,000 dams in the Northeastern United States. The Northeast Aquatic Connectivity (NAC) project allows fisheries managers and other interested parties to assess dams at multiple scales based on their potential to benefit anadromous and resident fish species if removed or bypassed. This work has continued, with support from NOAA and USFWS, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where data refinements and further analysis have produced a web map and tool that allow users to interactively prioritize dams for mitigation at multiple scales and with varying criteria.The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) has recently completed...
We will develop SMART-SLEUTH, an advanced spatially explicit modeling framework designed to augment the current SLEUTH model with sophisticated smart-growth capabilities. Based on the latest version of SLEUTH, we will create an open-source GIS-enabled software package that will implement SMART-SLEUTH with advanced modules and tools for evaluating, predicting, and visualizing smart growth scenarios and outcomes. In this software package, a more user friendly Graphic User Interface (GUI), a multi-level automatic calibration approach built on machine learning algorithms, and new spatial landscape metrics for quantifying land change patterns will provide enhanced support for complex model configuration, calibration,...
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We propose to support the revision and implementation of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Conservation Blueprint by integrating its Ecosystem Indicators into a structured decision support system that makes explicit how the Indicators are interrelated and how these will respond to management and policy interventions aimed at improving the conservation status of the South Atlantic region. Our specific objectives are to (1) develop ecological production functions that predict theecological impacts of selected conservation actions relative to current conditions, and to propagate these impacts through other affected systems or functions; (2) codify protocols for updating and curating geospatial...


map background search result map search result map Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Global Analysis of Trends in Projected and Documented Effects of Climate Change on Inland Fish Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC Enhancing the utility of International Shorebird Survey data management Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC Enhancing the utility of International Shorebird Survey data management Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts Global Analysis of Trends in Projected and Documented Effects of Climate Change on Inland Fish