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The U.S. Department of Energy initiated a remedial investigation of the Clinch River/Poplar Creek system Superfund Site in 1989. This site, located in eastern Tennessee near Oak Ridge, consists of 70 river kilometers and 40 km(2) of surface area. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nature and extent of contamination, perform an ecological and human health risk assessment, and evaluate possible remedial alternatives. This introductory article summarizes the environmental setting, the contamination history, and the study approach and provides some general results of the site characterization. Subsequent papers in this series describe the ecological risks to fish, piscivorous and insectivorous wildlife, and...
Wind power forecasting is becoming an important tool in electricity markets as the amount of wind power rapidly increases. However, the use of wind power forecasting in market operations and among market participants is still at an early stage. We discuss the current use of wind power forecasting in U.S. ISO/RTO markets, and give recommendations for how to make efficient use of the information in state-of-the-art wind power forecasts.
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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 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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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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The Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula rivers in the Arctic are heavily glaciated waterways that are important for fish and wildlife as well as human activities including the provision of food, recreation, and, potentially, resource extraction on the coastal plain. If current glacial melting trends continue, most of the ice in these rivers will disappear in the next 50-100 years. Because of their importance to human and natural communities, it is critical to understand how these rivers and their surrounding environments will be affected by climate change and glacier loss. The overarching goal of this project is to research (1) the amount of river water, sediment, nutrients, and organic matter in the Jago, Okpilak, and...
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Maintaining the native prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains (NGP), which provide an important habitat for declining grassland species, requires anticipating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and climate change on the region’s vegetation. Specifically, climate change threatens NGP grasslands by increasing the potential encroachment of native woody species into areas where they were previously only present in minor numbers. This project used a dynamic vegetation model to simulate vegetation type (grassland, shrubland, woodland, and forest) for the NGP for a range of projected future climates and relevant management scenarios. Comparing results of these simulations illustrates...
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Covering 120 million acres across 14 western states and 3 Canadian provinces, sagebrush provides critical habitat for species such as pronghorn, mule deer, and sage-grouse – a species of conservation concern. The future of these and other species is closely tied to the future of sagebrush. Yet this important ecosystem has already been affected by fire, invasive species, land use conversion, and now, climate change. In the western U.S., temperatures are rising and precipitation patterns are changing. However, there is currently a limited ability to anticipate the impacts of climate change on sagebrush. Current methods suffer from a range of weakness that limits the reliability of results. In fact, the current uncertainty...
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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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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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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-­â€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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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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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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This dataset was last updated 02/2017. This version includes a new tidal restrictions metric that assesses the effect of undersized culverts and bridges on tidal regime.The previous version (3.1) was updated on 05/2016 by incorporating a revised version of the land cover classification, DSLland Version 3.1, developed by UMass, which included the addition of The Nature Conservancy’s Northeast lakes and ponds classification.This dataset depicts the ecological integrity of locations (represented by 30 m grid cells) throughout the northeastern United States based on environmental conditions existing in approximately 2010. Ecological integrity is defined as the ability of an area (e.g., local site or landscape) to sustain...
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This layer was created by rescaling and averaging the circuit scape results for the following species: Eastern Cougar, Eastern Diamondback, Pine Snake, Timber Rattlesnakelink to brief summary
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Forests in the eastern United States are changing in response to ecological succession, tree harvest, and other disturbances and climate change has the potential to further change these forests. We predicted the distribution and abundance of common tree species across portions of the eastern U.S. under alternative climate scenarios that varied in the amount of warming by the end of the century from 1.1 to 4.2 degrees celsius. We used a forest landscape change model to forecast changes in tree abundances and distribution in the North Atlantic region of the U.S. while accounting for climate change, succession, and harvest. We then considered a broader region of the U.S. and combined our results with results from previous...
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In this proposal we investigate how tree selection at the local scale affects biodiversity and ecosystem services (Obj. 1). We then look regionally to determine the extent to which trees in cities can be used to predict heat-related threats to rural forests (Obj. 2). We will leverage ongoing investigations of heat-related stress and pest outbreaks in urban and rural forests to develop management recommendations for both systems. These ongoing projects provide a knowledge-base, infrastructure (e.g. study sites), equipment (e.g. Li-Cor Photosynthesis System), and outreach opportunities that will extend the impact of this project (see Synergistic and Future Funding section below). We will also convene a working group...
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Forests across the southwestern U.S. are crucial components of recreation and play an important role in state and local economies. Healthy forests also provide needed habitat for many wildlife species and contribute many other important services to our planet. “Hotter droughts” (otherwise normal droughts whose effects on ecosystems are exacerbated by higher temperatures) are an emerging climate change threat to forests with some of their earliest and strongest appearances happening in the Southwest. The Leaf to Landscape project uses California’s unusually hot drought as a potential preview of the future, allowing us to collect information that will help guide forest management in the face of a warming climate....


map background search result map search result map Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic Changes in Forested Landscapes of the Northeastern U.S. Under Future Climate Scenarios Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Draft Indicator: Landscapes - Resilient Biodiversity Hotspots Draft Indicator: Landscapes - Areas of Low Road Density Index of Functional Connectivity Forecasting Future Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Consequences of Urbanization and Climate Change on Human and Ecosystem Health Leaf to Landscape: Understanding and Mapping the Vulnerability of Forests to Hotter Droughts Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Integrating Climate Change Research and Planning to Inform Wildlife Conservation in the Boreal Forests of the Northeastern U.S. Index of Ecological Integrity, Stratified by Ecosystem, Region-wide, Version 3.2, Northeast U.S. Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Leaf to Landscape: Understanding and Mapping the Vulnerability of Forests to Hotter Droughts 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 Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic Draft Indicator: Landscapes - Areas of Low Road Density Draft Indicator: Landscapes - Resilient Biodiversity Hotspots Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions Changes in Forested Landscapes of the Northeastern U.S. Under Future Climate Scenarios Index of Functional Connectivity Forecasting Future Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Index of Ecological Integrity, Stratified by Ecosystem, Region-wide, Version 3.2, Northeast U.S. Consequences of Urbanization and Climate Change on Human and Ecosystem Health