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The vulnerability of species at risk from climate change is recognized as an important issue in California as well as globally. Assessing vulnerability requires information on the long-term viability of populations and understanding the influences on that viability, due to environmental drivers as well as impacts of management action. We developed population-dynamic models to assess and better understand the long-term population viability of four key, tidal marsh-dependent species, under a variety of environmental conditions, including climate change impacts. In the San Francisco Estuary, each species is represented by one or more subspecies that is entirely or mainly confined to the tidal marsh habitat in the region:...
The USGS Coastal Ecosystem Response to Climate Change (CERCC) began in 2008 to deliver sea - level rise ecological response mod- els at a scale relevant for resource managers. Work was originally focused on the San Fran- cisco Bay estuary and then expanded to en- compass other Pacific coast sites. Our goal is to provide site specific measurements and results that land managers, planners, and those concerned with the conservation of near- shore habitats can use to make well - informed climate change adaptation strategies and deci- sions.
Most species and ecosystems face multiple anthropogenic disruptions. Few studies have quantified the cumulative influence of multiple threats on species of conservation concern, and far fewer have quantified the potential relative value of multiple conservation interventions for population persistence in light of these threats. We linked spatial distribution and population viability models to explore conservation interventions under projected climate change, urbanization and changes in fire regime on a long-lived obligate seeding plant species sensitive to high fire frequencies; a dominant plant functional type in many fire-prone ecosystems, including the biodiversity hotspots of the Mediterranean-type ecosystems....
Conservation managers and policy makers require models that can rank the impacts of multiple, interacting threats on biodiversity so that actions can be prioritized. An integrated modelling framework was used to predict the viability of plant populations for five species in southern California’s Mediterranean-type ecosystem. The framework integrates forecasts of land-use change from an urban growth model with projections of future climatically-suitable habitat from climate and species distribution models, which are linked to a stochastic population model. The population model incorporates the effects of disturbance regimes and management actions on population viability. This framework: (1) ranks threats by their...
Are there places that buffer species from climate change? If so, where are they, and can species get there? California natural resource managers need to develop climate change adaptation strategies to address the responses of species to warming trends, shifting precipitation regimes, and changes in vegetation communities. Climate change refugia – areas that remain relatively stable as the climate changes – are important to consider in adaptation planning, but little was known about the nature and distribution of these places.In the CA LCC-funded project “Determining Landscape Connectivity and Climate Change Refugia Across the Sierra Nevada”, researchers mapped the meadows of the Sierra Nevada and used data on the...
As a clear consensus is emerging that suitable habitat for many species will dramatically reduce and/or shift with climate change, attention is turning to adaptation strategies to address these impacts. Assisted colonization is one such strategy that has been predominantly discussed in terms of the costs of introducing potential competitors into new communities and the benefits of reducing extinction risk. However, the success or failure of assisted colonization will depend on a range of population-level factors on which the climate change literature has been relatively silent—the quality of the recipient habitat, the number and life stages of translocated individuals, the establishment of translocated individuals...
The Greater Farallones NMS Climate Adaptation Plan is the result of a 2-year process to characterize climate impacts and vulnerabilities to Sanctuary resources along the North-central California coast and ocean, and to develop management strategies to respond to and decrease those vulnerabilities, ultimately enhancing resource resilience to climate impacts. The Plan represents the culmination of a Sanctuary Advisory Council planning process that resulted in the development of 78 adaptation strategy recommendations for the region’s management agencies to take to enhance coastal habitat resilience. The Plan presents the final adaptation strategies from these recommendations that Greater Farallones National Marine...
Climate change, when combined with more conventional stress from human exploitation, calls into question the capacity of both existing ecological communities and resource management institutions to experience disturbances while substantially retaining their same functions and identities. In other words, the physical and biological effects of climate change raise fundamental challenges to the resilience of natural ecosystems. Perhaps more importantly, the projected scope of ecological shifts from global climate change — and uncertainty about such changes — significantly stresses the capacity of legal institutions to manage ecosystem change. Existing governmental institutions lack the adaptive capacity to manage such...
Conservation efforts in Mediterranean-climate regions are complicated by species’ variability in response to multiple threats. Functional type classifications incorporating life history traits with disturbance response strategies provide a framework for predicting groups of species’ response to fire, but it is unclear whether these classifications will be useful when species are exposed to multiple threats or differ in spatial context. We evaluate whether species of the same fire-response functional type exhibit similar responses to disturbance relative to, and in combination with, climate and land-use change and whether the dominant threat depends on spatial context.
The North-central California coast and ocean is a globally significant and extraordinarily productive marine and coastal ecosystem that boasts an array of local, state and federal protected areas and other managed lands. Despite this richness and attention to conservation, this region is still vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council) convened the multi-agency Climate-Smart Adaptation Working Group (Working Group) in response to the need to develop climate-smart adaptation strategies to enable coastal and marine resource managers to respond to, plan, and manage for the impacts of climate change. Working Group members sought to provide...
The goal of the North-central California Coast and Ocean Climate-Smart Adaptation Project is to collaboratively develop and implement adaptation actions in response to, and in preparation for, climate change impacts on habitats, species and ecosystem services (termed focal resources). Vulnerability to climate and non-climate stressors was assessed for select focal resources in the region during Phase 1 of the project through two decision-support workshops. Climate-smart adaptive management actions will be developed and prioritized by the Climate-Smart Adaptation Working Group in Phase 2 of the project.The goal of the Climate-Smart Adaptation Working Group is to develop and prioritize climate-smart adaptive management...
This is a table describing information on the majority of meadows in Yosemite National Park. This table includes information that was developed by this project, namely columns describing connectivity value based on different predictors and a measure of whether the meadow is a climate change refugium.
Refugia have long been studied from paleontological and biogeographical perspectives to understand how populations persisted during past periods of unfavorable climate. Recently, researchers have applied the idea to contemporary landscapes to identify climate change refugia, here defined as areas relatively buffered from contemporary climate change over time that enable persistence of valued physical, ecological, and socio-cultural resources. We differentiate historical and contemporary views, and characterize physical and ecological processes that create and maintain climate change refugia. We then delineate how refugia can fit into existing decision support frameworks for climate adaptation and describe seven...
Coastal land managers are faced with many challenges and uncertainties in planning adaptive strategies for conserving coastal ecosystems under future climate change scenarios. As transitional ecotones between the marine and terrestrial environment, nearshore habitats are particularly sensitive to climate change. Projected climate change effects on coastal environments include sea-level rise, changing storm magnitude and frequency, salt water intrusion, accelerated erosion, shifting mudflat profiles, and increased water temperature and acidity (Huppert et al. 2009). Sea-level rise ranging from 0.43 m to 1.66 m by 2100 (NRC 2012) could potentially inundate thousands of acres of coastal habitats if accretion processes...