Climate & Fire & Adaptation

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Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in western North America and implications for fire management

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This paper reviews the nature and characteristics of bark beetle-altered fuel complexes in the conifer forests of the Interior West and the challenges of understanding the effects on extreme fire behavior, including the initiation and spread of crown fires. We also discuss how emerging fire management plans in the U.S. have begun to integrate wildfire management and other forest health objectives with the specific goal of achieving biodiversity and ecosystem resiliency while simultaneously reducing the existence of hazardous fuel complexes.

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Fuel treatment impacts on estimated wildfire carbon loss from forests in Montana, Oregon, California, and Arizona

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This paper reports the effects of the most common forest fuel reduction treatments on carbon pools composed of live and dead biomass as well as potential wildfire emissions from six different sites in four western U.S. states. Research suggests most of the benefits of increased fire resistance can be achieved with relatively small reductions in current carbon stocks. Retaining or growing larger trees also reduced the vulnerability of carbon loss from wildfire. In addition, modeled vulnerabilities to carbon losses and median forest product life spans varied considerably across our study sites, which could be used to help prioritize treatment implementation.

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Using weather data to improve decision-making for restoration efforts

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This guidebook focuses on the use of weather and climate information in the Ecologically-Based Invasive Plant Management Framework in planning and post-management treatment evaluation. It provides land managers with resources for finding weather and climate data, and tools for incorporating this data into adaptive management planning for rangeland restoration.


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Invasive species and climate change (Chapter 7)

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This review discusses how climate change may modify invasive species and the tools used to manage them. The understanding of how and in what direction climate change will drive such changes is insufficient to adequately predict and respond. However, climate-induced changes are likely to be complex and will need to be examined on a case by case basis until more generalized frameworks can be developed. This review will help guide development of important research questions, the answers to which will better position us to devise and apply meaningful management options to address invasive species in both present and future climates.

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Responding to climate change in national forests: A guidebook for developing adaptation options

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This guidebook contains science-based principles, processes, and tools necessary to assist with developing adaptation options for national forest lands. Because management objectives and sensitivity of resources to climate change differ among national forests, appropriate processes and tools for developing adaptation options may also differ. Regardless of specific processes and tools, the following steps are recommended: (1) become aware of basic climate change science and integrate that understanding with knowledge of local resource conditions and issues (review), (2) evaluate sensitivity of specific natural resources to climate change (rank), (3) develop and implement strategic and tactical options for adapting resources to climate change (resolve), and (4) monitor the effectiveness of adaptation options (observe) and adjust management as needed.

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Synthesis of knowledge: Fire history and climate change

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This synthesis includes 9 chapters covering: the current status of climate change science; the importance of fire regimes for understanding climate change impacts; the interrelationships among ecosystems, climate and fuels; the importance of understanding variability, change, scale and pattern for interpreting climate-fire interaction; fire history and climate change from an ecosystem perspective; scientific progress we can expect in the upcoming decade; some recommendations for managers for using fire history to inform their decision making under 21st Century climate change, and concluding thoughts.

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Climate Information for Managed Fire Webpage

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The Climate Information for Managed Fire Webpage provides links to models and tools that can be used for managed fire decision-making.

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Characterizing changes in drought risk for the United States from climate change

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This paper predicts moderately more frequent drought for the Great Basin with climate change.

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Managing fire and fuels in a warmer climate

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This paper provides a historical perspective on fire in the Pacific Northwest. A warmer climate could bring more fire to the westside of the Cascade Range where summers are typically dry and will probably become drier. We can also expect longer fire seasons. The biggest concern for the future will be an increase in extreme weather events, which can lead to conditions that produce large and rapidly spreading wildfire.

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