Climate & Fire & Adaptation

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Do carbon offsets work? The role of forest management in greenhouse gas mitigation

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In this synthesis of the latest available science, authors challenge the underlying assumptions used to establish most carbon-trading mechanisms, including the notion that lightly managed or unmanaged forests will be more effective at sequestering carbon over long periods than would a combination of managed forests and efficiently produced wood products. They take issue with the measurement systems used to determine trading parameters and find validity in the concerns that many market experts have expressed about additionality and leakage. This report details reasons to look for other solutions to greenhouse gas emission challenges.

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Great Basin Weather and Climate Dashboard

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The Great Basin Weather and Climate Dashboard came about from a need to help stakeholders locate the weather and climate information they need to make decisions related to the current drought in the Great Basin. The Dashboard is a joint effort by the Western Regional Climate Center, California and Nevada Applications Program,the USDA Farm Service Agency and the Great Basin LCC.

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Trends in surface air temperature and temperature extremes in the Great Basin during the 20th century from ground-based observations

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This study analyzed trends in surface air temperature and temperature extremes in the Great Basin during 1901–2010. Researchers found that annual average daily minimum temperature increased significantly during the study period, with daily maximum temperature increasing only slightly.  The results of this study suggest that continuation of the overall warming trend would lead to markedly warmer conditions in upcoming decades.

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Climate change tipping points: A point of no return?

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This brief highlights that recent fire patterns in the West confirm that warming is already causing changes in forested landscapes that are likely irreversible. Overall, the suite of JFSP studies on climate change and tipping points presents a number of strategies for adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of climate change, but the research also underscores that there is no one-size-fits all approach.

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Forest fires: Burn out

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This Nature article discusses large, severe fires, climate change, insect outbreaks, and recovery of western forests with USGS scientist, Craig Allen and WERC scientist, Nate Stephenson.  on the conversion of forest ecosystems due to climate change and altered fire regimes.

 

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Climate change, forests, fire, water, and fish: building resilient landscapes, streams, and managers

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This report describes the framework of how fire and climate change work together to affect forest and fish communities. Learning how to adapt will come from testing, probing, and pushing that framework and then proposing new ideas. The western U.S. defies generalizations, and much learning must necessarily be local in implication. This report serves as a scaffold for that learning. It comprises three primary chapters on physical processes, biological interactions, and management decisions, accompanied by a special section with separately authored papers addressing interactions of fish populations with wildfire.

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Climate change in grasslands, shrublands, and deserts of the interior American West: A review and needs assessment

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This technical report reviews existing climate models that predict species and vegetation changes in the western United States, and it synthesizes knowledge about climate change impacts on the native fauna and flora of grasslands, shrublands and deserts of the interior American West. Species’ responses will depend not only on their physiological tolerances but also on their phenology, establishment properties, biotic interactions, and capacity to evolve and migrate.

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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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