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Evaluating Species’ Adaptive Capacity in a Changing Climate: Applications to Natural-Resource Management in the Northwestern U.S.

A Northwest CASC Funding Opportunity – Fiscal Year 2019 Project
Principal Investigator
Lindsey Thurman

Dates

Release Date
2019
Start Date
2019-09-01
End Date
2022-04-14

Summary

Natural resource managers are confronted with the pressing challenge to develop conservation plans that address complex ecological and societal needs against the backdrop of a rapidly changing climate. Climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) provide valuable information that helps guide management and conservation actions in this regard. An essential component to CCVAs is understanding adaptive capacity, or the ability of a species to cope with or adjust to climate change. However, adaptive capacity is the least understood and evaluated component of CCVAs. This is largely due to a fundamental need for guidance on how to assess adaptive capacity and incorporate this information into conservation planning and decision-making. [...]

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“Forest Growth. Credit: David Patte - FWS”
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Purpose

Climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) provide valuable information that inform management and conservation actions in response to rapidly changing climate. An essential component of CCVAs is adaptive capacity (AC), or the ability of a species to cope with or adjust to changing climate conditions. However, moving beyond the concept to evaluate species’ AC in practice has been fraught with challenges. As part of a large, international working group, we developed a generalized method for evaluating species' AC with associated guidelines aimed at the broader practitioner community. We will be partnering with management agencies in the Northwest U.S. to support the effective inclusion of AC information in CCVAs and other climate adaptation plans. These partnerships will also support upcoming management and planning efforts, including Forest Service land management plan revisions, which incorporate management actions for specific species of concern.

Project Extension

parts
typeTechnical Summary
valueAdaptive capacity (AC) is the intrinsic ability of a species to cope with or adjust to changing climate conditions. AC is considered the least understood and evaluated of the three components of climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs). Research and outreach to the broader practitioner community has revealed a fundamental, yet currently unmet, need for guidance on how to assess AC and incorporate that information into conservation planning and decision-making. In response, a large, international working group was formed with the task of improving the operationalization of AC information for natural-resource managers. From this working group, we developed a framework for evaluating species' AC based on a suite of attributes (or traits) that can be applied to any taxon (e.g., plants, animals, invertebrates, etc.). We propose to demonstrate the utility of our AC framework in cooperation with management agencies in the U.S. Northwest at multiple spatial scales and across diverse taxonomies, encompassing situations with varying data availability and management implications. This includes critical ground-testing in close partnership with ongoing and planned CCVAs by project partners. Our specific objectives are to: (1) conduct a regional evaluation of AC for priority, or at-risk, northwestern species that were previously included in a climate sensitivity assessment; and (2) co-produce a CCVA and adaptation plan for Siuslaw National Forest (Oregon) with natural-resource managers and the science team of Adaptation Partners, with great consideration of the implications for upcoming Northwest Forest Plan revisions. Our AC assessment framework will be developed into a tool to be stored on the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) website. We will make our case study results available through open access publications and agency technical reports.
projectStatusIn Progress

Budget Extension

annualBudgets
year2019
totalFunds72656.3
year2020
totalFunds49753.48
parts
typeAward Type
valueCooperative Agreement
typeAward Number
valueG20AC00117
totalFunds122409.78

Forest Growth. Credit: David Patte - FWS
Forest Growth. Credit: David Patte - FWS

Map

Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS

Communities

  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Northwest CASC

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Additional Information

Identifiers

Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 956ee619-56cd-48ad-9e10-63b46cc40b5b
StampID NCCWSC NW19-TL1672

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