Challenges & Benefits of Broad-scale Management & Conservation: Lessons learned from 50 years and 3 continents

Webinar presented by: Dr. Erik Beever, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, USGS.

September 25, 2014, 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time

Description: Integration of conservation efforts across geographic, biological, and Captureadministrative boundaries is a major movement in natural-resource management. This style of management and problem-solving is increasingly relevant, because drivers of change such as climate shifts, fire, and invasive species increasingly transcend these multidimensional boundaries and pervade conservation efforts on individual sites. Although the benefits of broad-scale conservation are compelling, it represents a complex challenge, owing to uncertainties in scaling up information and concepts as well as in coordination that addresses a more-diverse set of issues, governance structures, and partners. I and other researchers sought to explore the particular successes and challenges of established broad-scale conservation programs, to provide direction for future research towards a larger goal of enhancing effectiveness of broad-scale conservation (e.g., the LCC system). Using 17 questions, we gathered information from representatives of a diverse set of 11 broad-scale conservation partnerships spanning 29 countries on three continents. Despite demonstrated successes of these organizations, we revealed specific challenges that can hinder long-term success of broad-scale conservation. Engaging stakeholders, developing conservation measures, and implementing adaptive management were dominant challenges. Although these challenges have been identified previously in isolation, we used our results to develop integrative research questions addressing each of these challenges to inform and support effectiveness of existing and emerging broad-scale conservation efforts. I will share a list of challenges and a list of benefits reported by those engaged in broad-scale management and conservation around the world, as well as results regarding individual parts of the conservation process.

To register, click here.

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Developing forest adaptation strategies for northern forests in an uncertain future

NECSC-logoWednesday, October 1, 2014 – 3:30pm EDT

Associate Professor, Forest Resources

Climate change and associated stressors are expected to greatly impact the ability of forest managers to sustainably manage and conserve forest habitats across the northeastern United States.  As a result, adaptation strategies are being developed and applied in many regions to minimize climate change impacts and sustain key forest functions under uncertain future environmental conditions. Given that many of these strategies deviate from traditional approaches to forest management, there is a great need for field evaluations of adaptation in practice to inform long-term planning efforts to address climate change impacts.  Similarly, the long timeframes over which forests develop and management actions operate has increased the importance of decision support tools, such as forest and landscape-simulation models, to evaluate forest conservation practices under future climate change scenarios. This webinar will highlight the importance of field-based studies for assessing the effectiveness of adaptation strategies at addressing climate change and invasive species impacts and will provide an example of how landscape simulation models are being applied to identify forest conservation priorities for highly vulnerable, spruce-fir ecosystems in the northeastern United States. Read more and find the webinar link here.

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Changing Cold Regions Network – Water, Ecosystem, Cryosphere and Climate Observations

CCRN Ecoregions and ObservatoriesThe Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN) is a new collaborative research network bringing together the unique expertise of a team of over 50 university and government scientists, including 36 Canadian scientists representing 4 government agencies and 8 universities, as well as 15 international scientists.  The network is funded for 5 years through the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) Initiative of NSERC. CCRN’s objectives are to integrate existing and new sources of data with improved predictive and observational tools to understand, diagnose and predict interactions amongst the cryospheric, ecological, hydrological, and climatic components of the changing Earth system at multiple scales, with a geographic focus on Western Canada’s rapidly changing cold interior.

Focused field research activities under CCRN take place at a suite of key Water, Ecosystem, Cryosphere and Climate (WECC) Observatories, which are distributed across western and northern Canada. Many sites are within the Northwest Boreal LCC.


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Alaska Climate Science Center: Glacier Runoff Vulnerability Assessment

Coastal temperate rainforests along the Gulf of Alaska are experiencing high rates of glacier loss. Understanding the climate-induceCaptured vulnerability of land-to-ocean movement of freshwater due to glacier melting is critical since the variability in glacier runoff is much larger than that for other components of the water cycle.  This project will develop methods to quantify runoff from watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska, allowing an assessment of impacts on coastal ecosystems. This study will also assess available data, develop an interdisciplinary conceptual model, and disseminate findings to both scientific peers and the public, paving the way forward to a better understanding of one of the least understood regional water cycles on Earth. New information from this study will provide a framework for assessing the future evolution of glacier discharge into the Gulf of Alaska, reducing uncertainty in determining the response of coastal ecosystems to a changing climate. Project Overview:

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Yukon River Lowlands, Kuskokwim Mountains, and Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment Report — Now Available

REAThe final Yukon River Lowlands, Kuskokwim Mountains, and Lime Hills Rapid Ecoregional Assessment Report is on the University of Alaska Anchorage AKNHP website under Task 9 Products:

The report consists of two main sections:

1)      Summary – This is a concise 30-page document highlighting key results and take home messages.

2)      Technical Supplement – This is a comprehensive document describing all products and maps.  This supplement is split into 5 subsections: A. Introduction, B. Change Agents, C. Landscape and Ecological Integrity, D. Conservation Elements, and E. Data Gaps and Omissions.

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Porcupine Caribou Herd Could Be Threatened By More Wildfires

Photo by D. Gustine, USGS

Photo by D. Gustine, USGS

USGS and University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers explore the impacts of wildfire on Porcupine Caribou Herd habitat and range shifts. Dave Gustine with USGS and lead author on the study reports a 21% reduction of winter habitat by the end of this century across Alaska and Yukon, with the most severe effects in Yukon. Read the summary written by Kristin Timm at UAF that includes links to the full article.

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NASA in Alaska 2014: G-LiHT “Connecting the Dots”

NASA in Alaska 2014: G-LiHT | Connecting the DotsThe Alaska G-LiHT Campaign is a partnership between scientists and NASA and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The design for the research is to link field measurements of forest structure, vegetation composition, and soils with airborne remote sensing data from G-LiHT. At this stage of the mission, the flight planning looks a little like a technicolor version of Pac-Man. Pink lines on the flight GPS units intersect points showing the location of ground measurements. In flight, the goal is to gobble as many of these dots as possible. Sometimes you wonder if the familiar “wocka wocka” noise of the old video game can be heard above the noise of the engine.

Read more here

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Alaska Arctic Marine Fish Ecology Catalog: Beaufort & Chukchi Seas

The following is an abstract and highlights for a new publication on an Arctic fish catalog. It is about 1000 pages in 8 chapters. It will be available in pdf and hard copy sometime during the winter of 2014/2015.

For more information, contact : Thorsteinson, Lyman

Continue reading

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Eye On The Taiga: removing global policy impediments to safeguard the boreal forest

main-forest-for-the-treesA recent article by Moen et al. (2014) published in Conservation Letters urges policy makers to remove barriers for managing boreal forests for carbon storage.  “The absence of boreal forests from global policy agendas on sustainable development and climate change mitigation represents a massive missed opportunity
for environmental protection. The boreal zone contains some of the
world’s largest pools of terrestrial carbon that, if not safeguarded from a conversion
to a net source of greenhouse gases, could seriously exacerbate global
climate change. At the same time, boreal countries have a strong tradition
of forest management—expertise that could be effectively leveraged toward
global and national carbon mitigation targets and sustainable development. Current obstacles against such contributions include weak incentives for carbon
sequestration and a reluctance to embrace change by forest managers and
policy makers.” Find the article online here.

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Researchers Call for Citizen Scientists to Help Record Plant Migration

University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Christa Mulder is starting an exciting new citizen-science project on climate change and plant phenology called BrownDown. Her team is looking for participants in Alaska and Canada.

Project BrownDown is a citizen scientist project that will encourage participation from the public while helping researchers look at climate change in the North.  According to University of Alaska Fairbanks spring arrives earlier each year, summers are warmer and fall arrives later.  This has an affect on plant life; with seasons not changing on time, plants flower, fruit and die at altered times. poplar1

 Participants will learn about plant phenology and how it can be affected by climate change. They will practice all of the monitoring procedures, such as how to select a field site, identify plants and enter and upload data. Participants will upload their data to the website Hands on the Land where they can compare what their plants are doing to what plants at other locations in northern regions are doing. Data will also be shared with Canada’s PlantWatch Program. Read more and listen to a an interview on KDLG radio here.

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