As global temperatures continue to rise, the frequency and severity of droughts in North America are expected to increase, leading to a wide range of social and ecological impacts. Identifying these impacts and the consequences for ecosystems and human communities are essential for effective drought management. Equally important is to improve the capacity of nature and people to prepare for and cope with drought by identifying management strategies that benefit both.
An interdisciplinary working group within the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) was established by the U.S. Geological Survey, The Wildlife Conservation Society, and The Nature Conservancy to synthesize our current understanding of the ecological impacts of drought and its implications for human health and well-being. The SNAPP working group will hold four meetings, each with an explicit purpose:
1. “The Knowns”: Synthesize our current understanding of ecological drought and locate ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to drought
2. “The Needs”: Gather stakeholders to prioritize drought management needs
3. “The Solutions”: Identify management solutions that benefit both humans and nature
4. “The Real World”: Demonstrate how the results of the first three workshops can be implemented on-the-ground in drought adaptation and preparedness efforts
The SNAPP working group will be an essential forum for synthesizing information on the ecological impacts of drought and developing a stakeholder-led drought planning effort that benefits vulnerable regions and communities. These efforts will fill a critical need – to ensure that ecosystems and human communities are best prepared to cope with droughts of the future.