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Case Study: Integrated Scenarios and Outreach for Habitat Threat Assessments on California RangelandsWe developed six scenarios organized around our management question: How can we maintain viable ranchlands and their ecosystem services in light of future integrated threats? The scenarios represent alternative futures of climate/land use/hydrological change for the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition (Rangeland Coalition) focus area (the foothills around the Central Valley and most of the southern Inner Coast Range) based on (a) consistent storylines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES)5 and (b) downscaled global climate models (GCMs) that represent...
Understanding the environmental contributors to population structure is of paramount importance for conservation in urbanized environments. We used spatially explicit models to determine genetic population structure under current and future environmental conditions across a highly fragmented, human-dominated environment in Southern California to assess the effects of natural ecological variation and urbanization. We focused on 7 common species with diverse habitat requirements, home-range sizes, and dispersal abilities. We quantified the relative roles of potential barriers, including natural environmental characteristics and an anthropogenic barrier created by a major highway, in shaping genetic variation. The...
Significant efforts are underway to translate improved understanding of how climate change is altering ecosystems into practical actions for sustaining ecosystem functions and benefits. We explore this transition in California, where adaptation and mitigation are advancing relatively rapidly, through four case studies that span large spatial domains and encompass diverse ecological systems, institutions, ownerships, and policies. The case studies demonstrate the context specificity of societal efforts to adapt ecosystems to climate change and involve applications of diverse scientific tools (e.g., scenario analyses, downscaled climate projections, ecological and connectivity models) tailored to specific planning...
In the Pacific Northwest, coastal wetlands support a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries and flood protection. The tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays of coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the effects of sea-level rise on nine tidal marshes in Washington and Oregon between 2012 and 2015, with the goal of providing scientific data to support future coastal planning and conservation. We compiled...
ContextIn addition to biodiversity conservation, California rangelands generate multiple ecosystem services including livestock production, drinking and irrigation water, and carbon sequestration. California rangeland ecosystems have experienced substantial conversion to residential land use and more intensive agriculture.ObjectivesTo understand the potential impacts to rangeland ecosystem services, we developed six spatially explicit (250 m) climate/land use change scenarios for the Central Valley of California and surrounding foothills consistent with three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenario narratives.MethodsWe quantified baseline and projected change in wildlife habitat, soil organic...
The coastal region of California supports a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays within coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise (SLR) are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the projected effects of three recent SLR scenarios produced for the West Coast of North America on tidal marshes in California. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, plant...
Workshops were held in each of the 3-6 areas to present study results and solicit visits with managers over 2-3 days. In addition, stakeholder involvement was recruited at 1-3 areas to develop a decision-making tool that incorporates climate change projections in management alternatives.
Decision makers that are responsible for stewardship of natural resources face many challenges, which are complicated by uncertainty about impacts from climate change, expanding human development, and intensifying land uses. A systematic process for evaluating the social and ecological risks, trade-offs, and cobenefits associated with future changes is critical to maximize resilience and conserve ecosystem services. This is particularly true in coastal areas where human populations and landscape conversion are increasing, and where intensifying storms and sea-level rise pose unprecedented threats to coastal ecosystems. We applied collaborative decision analysis with a diverse team of stakeholders who preserve, manage,...