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One major consequence of climate change is abrupt, dramatic changes in regional biodiversity. Even if the most optimistic scenarios for mitigating climate change transpire, the fate of many wild species rests on the shoulders of people engaged in conservation planning, management, and policy. Providing managers with the latest and most useful climate change research is critical and requires challenging the conventional divide between scientists and managers.
Biodiversity in a Changing Climate promotes dialogue among scientists, decision makers, and managers who are grappling with climate-related threats to species and ecosystems in diverse forms. The book includes case studies and best practices used to address impacts related to climate change across a broad spectrum of species and habitatsfrom coastal krill and sea urchins to prairie grass and mountain bumblebees. Focused on California, the issues and strategies presented in this book will prove relevant to regions across the West, as well as other regions, and provide a framework for how scientists and managers in any region can bridge the communication divide to manage biodiversity in a rapidly changing world.
Biodiversity and a Changing Climate will prove an indispensable guide to students, scientists, and professionals engaged in conservation and resource management.
|Publisher:||University of California Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Terry L. Root is Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and Professor, by courtesy, in the Department of Biology at Stanford University.
Kimberly R. Hall is a Climate Change Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Michigan State University.
Mark P. Herzog is Quantitative Ecologist and Wildlife Biologist at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center.
Christine A. Howell is the Regional Wildlife Ecologist for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service.
Read an Excerpt
Biodiversity in a Changing Climate
Linking Science and Management in Conservation
By Terry L. Root, Kimberly R. Hall, Mark P. Herzog, Christine A. Howell
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESSCopyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
A New Era for Ecologists
INCORPORATING CLIMATE CHANGE INTO NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Kimberly R. Hall
Rapid climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing resource managers and conservation practitioners in California and around the globe. Since the 1880s, the linear trend in average global surface temperature suggests an increase of approximately 0.85°C in the Northern Hemisphere, and the last 30 years were likely the warmest period in the last 1400 years (IPCC 2013). It is critical that we accelerate efforts to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (mitigate the causes of climate change). However, even if drastic reductions are achieved, the emissions that have already been released through the burning of fossil fuels, compounded by the loss of forests and other natural systems that store carbon, commit us to continued changes in climate for many decades to come (Solomon et al. 2009). The rapid pace of changes, combined with the complexity of potential responses of species and natural systems to different climatic factors, suggests that we will often need to transform, rather than just update, our management approaches (Kates et al. 2012, Park et al. 2012). The extent to which ecologists in the research, conservation, and management fields are able to contribute viable strategies to address these challenges, and promote transformation in our approaches to management, has important implications for biodiversity, natural systems, and the ecological services that support all species, including humans.
The goals of this book are to help motivate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by describing observed and likely vulnerabilities of species and natural systems to climate change, and to help accelerate the pace of climate change adaptation in the natural resource management sector. The focus of this chapter is on framing how scientists and managers can work together to design and implement updates to our management and conservation practices that increase the odds that species and systems adapt to climate change. While most of the chapters in this book focus on observed impacts in California ecosystems, here we emphasize adaptation, and provide an introduction to the frameworks and tools available in the emerging field of adaptation planning. These frameworks and tools provide the pathway forward for incorporating what we learn from the study of responses of species and systems to climate change into natural resource management and conservation strategies.
Steps for adaptation planning include identifying likely changes in key climatic factors, characterizing the risks that these changes pose to things we care about, prioritizing those risks, evaluating the consequences of various strategies to reduce risk, implementing preferred actions, and tracking and learning from these actions (Moser and Ekstrom 2010, Poiani et al. 2011, Cross et al. 2012, Stein et al. 2014). While science is a critical input to these tasks, it is not by itself sufficient (Gregory et al. 2006), and lack of information should not be used to delay action. Given that the need for "more science" is often described by practitioners as a barrier to adaptation (Heller and Zavaleta 2009, Moser and Ekstrom 2010, Bierbaum et al. 2013, Petersen et al. 2013), a key step that scientists, managers, and policy-makers can partner on is reminding each other that we make decisions under uncertainty all of the time, and there are methods we can use to help make these decisions more rigorous and more transparent. In addition to investing in more science, to make progress on adaptation, we need to think more broadly about the skills and processes that can facilitate society's ability to act on what we observe, and plan for the changes that our climate and ecological models suggest are likely to occur.
Making decisions on how to address climate change risks to species, natural systems, and the people that depend on these systems requires that we integrate science with information on societal values and account for many types of uncertainties (Schneider et al. 2007, National Research Council 2009). Integration of science with values and the collaborative determination of likely costs and benefits of various adaptation actions require that science be presented clearly, with key thresholds identified where possible. As ecologists, we need to explain the logic behind our expectations for the future, and explain our assumptions in ways that help nonscientists understand the relationship between various climate drivers and the sensitivities of species and systems. When we are able to communicate science clearly, we can play an essential role in promoting science-based decisions: We enable a broader group of stakeholders to act as partners in the evaluation of the risks, costs, and benefits associated with different actions (Gregory et al. 2006, Schneider et al. 2007, National Research Council 2009, Moser and Ekstrom 2010). While the myriad of uncertainties associated with climate change impacts (and human responses to these impacts) present a major challenge, tools and frameworks for handling uncertainty continue to grow (National Research Council 2009, Kujala et al. 2013, Hoffman et al. 2014). For those of us trained in the natural sciences, uncertainty and complexity are not new concerns, and learning new ways to handle these elements will likely make us better scientists.
Although learning about tools for handling uncertainty is important, actually engaging in the process of identifying management options that could promote adaptation, and framing out the costs and benefits of those options will likely provide insights that can only be gained through this experience. One lesson that is likely to emerge is that not all "unknowns" that could be addressed with new scientific research are equally relevant (Hoffman et al. 2014). Processes like structured decision-making are particularly suited for helping illustrate this point (e.g., Keeney 2004, Martin et al. 2009), but this honing in on a smaller set of critical uncertainties will likely occur in most situations where policy-makers and managers are working through a management strategy decision, updating management goals, or re-prioritizing investments. Given the urgency of addressing climate change risks, our goal should be to emphasize research into the uncertainties that have the most influence in terms of helping us choose the best options for protecting the things we value. When "decision-critical" science is identified during the process of choosing among alternative management actions, scientists engaged in the process can greatly enhance the decision-relevance of their work by developing new projects that target these uncertainties (Martin et al. 2009, Mastrandrea et al. 2010). This type of partnership has the added benefit to researchers of providing a ready audience and application for their work, which can greatly improve the likelihood of support from funders, and promote interest in and critical feedback on the work from stakeholders. In California, there are many entry points for engagement, such as through workgroups for the California Climate Change Assessment process, or through contributions to the adaptation strategy (information available at the California Climate Change Portal, www.climatechange.ca.gov).
A main barrier to successful partnerships among scientists, managers, stakeholders, and decision-makers is lack of communication. While strong communication skills are often recognized as being essential for creating and maintaining partnerships, few academic scientists have direct opportunities to build the full complement of needed skills. These skills go far beyond writing an article for a broad audience, or being able to give a presentation describing one's work without jargon. We also need to be able to listen and ask questions, so that through dialogue we can identify information gaps, misunderstandings, and understand the bounds of the problem to be solved. One way for students in the sciences to build these skills and build relationships that promote long-term engagement in management decisions is for them to take advantage of opportunities to learn from managers. Ideally, these managers would be addressing questions that could potentially be informed by their area of research, but there is much to be learned even if this is not the case. While textbooks and journal articles may promote particular management actions or conservation strategies, direct engagement with decision-makers who are working toward a particular set of management objectives can provide critical insight into how scientific information is integrated with information on societal values, and social, technological and financial constraints.
This book represents one example of graduate and postdoctoral researchers taking steps to make these connections with resource managers and conservation practitioners. As noted in the Preface, encouraging students to engage with researchers was the focus of the project funded by the California Energy Commission through the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The four editors of this book served as mentors in the project, which we called Biological Impacts of Climate Change in California (BICCCA). Our goal was to give graduate and postgraduate students at California universities encouragement and opportunities to meet and engage with on-the-ground resource managers and conservation practitioners, and to work with them to improve their oral and written communication skills. All chapters in this book were written to be accessible and relevant to both applied and academic audiences. Further, many of the chapters are accompanied by "conversations" between students in the BICCCA program and practitioners responsible for managing ecological systems under climate change. Though these conversations only scratch the surface of topics that long-term collaborations to sustain biodiversity will need to address, they demonstrate some of the key opportunities and constraints that arise as scientists and managers work more closely together. Our hope is that as students, established academic scientists, and natural resource professionals read these chapters, they will be inspired to initiate or increase their engagement in similar conversations.
RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE: A CALL FOR STRONGER COLLABORATIONS
Our desire to help "bridge the gap" between science and practice in the context of updating resource management is driven by the magnitude of climate-related risks to biodiversity. The bridges we construct are likely to be most stable if we recognize that fundamental assumptions underlying how we think about nature will have to change. Most are likely to agree with the idea that "stationarity is dead" (Milly et al. 2008); we can no longer make decisions about resource management with an expectation that patterns of variation in climate-sensitive systems will stay within historic ranges. But how do we think through what might happen over the next decade, or next century? Practitioners often establish "desired future conditions" for a site based on a historic reference condition, or try to achieve a changing mosaic of ecological site conditions that would have occurred under historic ranges of variability. However, as we move away from the assumption of climate stationarity, we need to reconsider what it is we are managing toward. This is one of the many ways the challenge of responding to climate change requires that we change our way of thinking, and stretch our imaginations, as much as it calls us to action.
Until we achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, we face a future of continued change. This unfortunate reality suggests we should design resource management plans that are flexible enough to account for continued change over time, which explicitly address multiple forms of uncertainty, and likely increases in the frequency of many types of extreme climate events. One challenge to overcome as we work toward these goals is that traditional scientific and management approaches are not well suited to helping us prepare for directional change, variation across space and time, and extremes. Historically, ecological research has focused on simplified model systems in which we can rigorously test hypotheses, which has also meant that work is typically carried out on small focal areas or study plots, with a focus on relatively narrow ranges of variation in one or a few environmental variables. Similarly, this type of training is likely to have framed the perspectives of practitioners, and shapes the monitoring and other tools we use to inform our work. Depending on our experiences thus far in terms of observed ecological responses, this lack of points of reference for thinking about change can be a key barrier to conceptualization of how to move forward.
Our challenges in addressing change and variation highlight another tendency of the resource management / conservation practitioner community, of which three of the four editors of this book are a part. Recent research suggests that practitioners tend to be risk averse with respect to investing in actions perceived as risky, untested, or outside of the norm (West et al. 2009, Hagerman and Satterfield 2013). While we often claim to be engaged in an adaptive management approach, suggesting that our management actions are embedded in a study design that allows the comparison of different options through targeted monitoring, our visions for implementing adaptive management are often not well supported by available resources. The degree to which managers promote different types of adaptation actions may be influenced by both scientific support for the premise underlying the specific action and the degree to which it represents a digression from past activities (West et al. 2009). For practitioners, there is the added challenge of deciding how much to invest in addressing climate-related risks, given that other stressors such as habitat loss, pollution, or impacts of invasive species often seem more pressing (Lawler 2009, Hagerman and Satterfield 2014). We may also have greater confidence that scarce resources will actually do more good if spent on these time-tested approaches (West et al. 2012), rather than on risky new ideas. Further, we may feel overwhelmed by the idea of being responsible for unintended consequences following the application of a novel approach (Hagerman and Satterfield 2013, Hagerman and Satterfield 2014). Thus, in addition to developing modes of research that are a better fit to the challenges we need to address, a second key role for scientists may be developing explicit strategies for dealing with this bias toward the familiar. With respect to the knowledge and certainty thresholds that need to be attained to support implementation of adaptation actions "the burden of truth is much higher for unconventional actions" (Hagerman and Satterfield 2013, p.561), suggesting that working with practitioners, to first frame potential benefits and risks and second evaluate innovative actions when they are chosen, is a critical need.
Excerpted from Biodiversity in a Changing Climate by Terry L. Root, Kimberly R. Hall, Mark P. Herzog, Christine A. Howell. Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
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Table of Contents
1. A NEW ERA FOR ECOLOGISTS: INCORPORATING CLIMATE CHANGE INTO NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
PART I. KEY CHANGES IN CLIMATE AND LIFE
2. CLIMATE CHANGE FROM THE GLOBE TO CALIFORNIA
3. CLIMATIC INFLUENCES ON ECOSYSTEMS
PART II. LEARNING FROM CASE STUDIES AND DIALOGUES BETWEEN SCIENTISTS AND RESOURCE MANAGERS
4. MODELING KRILL IN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT: A 2005 CASE STUDY
5. SHIFTS IN MARINE BIOGEOGRAPHIC RANGES
6. INTEGRATING GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONSERVATION: A KLAMATH RIVER CASE STUDY
7. POLLINATORS AND MEADOW RESTORATION
8. ELEVATIONAL SHIFTS IN BREEDING BIRDS IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DESERT REGION
9. CONSERVING CALIFORNIA GRASSLANDS INTO AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
10. SPECIES INVASIONS: LINKING CHANGES IN PLANT COMPOSITION TO CHANGES IN CLIMATE
PART III. PERSPECTIVES FOR FRAMING BIOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE
11. EVOLUTIONARY CONSERVATION UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE
12. FOSSILS PREDICT BIOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO FUTURE CLIMATE CHANGE
13. HISTORICAL DATA ON SPECIES OCCURRENCE: BRIDGING THE PAST TO THE FUTURE