Curating relevant climate data to galvanize regional expertise, innovation, and learning networks to help local land managers design effective management strategies.
Pacific Northwest forests contribute to the economic, social, and ecological stability of the region through sustainable timber production, carbon sequestration toward climate change mitigation, flood protection during extreme events, water quality control and fisheries protection among others.
Climate change is projected to jeopardize these valuable ecosystem services through increased temperatures and reduced snowpack, exacerbating the influence of disturbance such as fire and pest/pathogen outbreaks. Moreover heat waves and declines in water availability will likely cause population migrations to the Northwest which means increased demand for services but also the amplified need for effective carbon sequestration measures that could partially mitigate climate change impacts while human fire ignition sources increase.
Managing ecosystems for resilience (the ability of a system to absorb shocks, to avoid crossing a threshold into an alternate and possibly irreversible new state, and to regenerate after disturbance) is one way we can protect forest services and the path forward requires innovation and communication.
The U.S. Government requests all federal agencies to develop vulnerability assessments and implement climate adaptation plans by 2015. While some progress has been made regionally by state agencies, federal agencies, and NGOs, the abundance of data and documents describing the uncertainty around both climate change projections and impacts has become challenging to managers with little funding and limited time to digest available material and incorporate it into planning documents.
With funding from the USDA Forest Service, Conservation Biology Institute has developed both a customized website and a Data Basin group specifically designed to host the relevant data for the Pacific Northwest Ecosystems Resilience Network, to galvanize regional expertise, innovation, and learning networks to help local land managers design effective management strategies.
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