Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Process, Outcomes and Next Steps

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop on climate change adaptation in the Jemez Mountains on April 21-22, 2009 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. More than 50 representatives of state and federal agencies, tribal governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated.

The Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop was the first in a series of four to be organized by the Southwest Climate Change Initiative (SWCCI), a project of TNC and collaborators from the Wildlife Conservation Society, USDA Forest Service, University of Arizona and University of Washington. The goal of the SWCCI is to provide information and tools for climate change adaptation planning and implementation to conservation practitioners in the Four Corners states: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The workshop goal was to help resource managers develop strategies for helping species and ecosystems adapt to climate change, and to enhance cross-boundary collaboration using new tools and the best available climate change science. The objectives of the workshop were:

  1. Provide background information on climate change and its effects in the one million-acre Jemez Mountains landscape;
  2. Assess the effects of climate change on key species, ecosystems and ecological processes;
  3. Using a new adaptation planning framework, identify management actions to reduce climate change impacts;
  4. Identify opportunities for learning, collaboration and application of the adaptation planning process for natural resource management in the Jemez Mountains.

Over the course of two days, managers, scientists and conservation practitioners worked together to identify adaptation strategies under two climate change scenarios – one moderate, and one more extreme.

Following the workshop, representatives of the Santa Fe National Forest, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Pueblo, NM Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute and TNC resolved to work together to develop an ecological restoration strategy for a 210,000-acre mixed-ownership landscape in the southwestern Jemez Mountains.

Finally, the work of the Southwest Climate Change Initiative continues. In December 2009, a second climate change adaptation workshop was held for Colorado’s Gunnison Basin (see http://www.nmconservation.org/projects/new_mexico_climate_change for products) , and a third is scheduled for April 2010 for the forests of northern Arizona. A fourth workshop will be held in Utah in mid-2010.

Preparing for Climate Change in the Upper Willamette River Basin of Western Oregon

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reached a consensus in 2007 that the evidence is now “unequivocal” that the earth’s atmosphere and oceans are warming and concluded that these changes primarily are due to human activities (IPCC, 2007a). While reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is vital to stabilize the climate in the long term, excess emissions already concentrated in the atmosphere will produce significant changes in the global climate now and throughout the next century. These changes are expected to transform natural systems and pose new stresses on native species in the Upper Willamette River Basin. Changes in the climate and in the Basin’s natural systems will, in turn, modify the way the local economy functions and produce new stresses on infrastructure and buildings, human health, and the quality of life of the people who live in and enjoy the Upper Willamette River Basin.

Numerous initiatives already underway will help prepare the Basin’s communities, economy, and landscapes for these effects. However, few initiatives focus on the actions needed to prepare explicitly for climate change. Expanding existing activities, launching the additional climate preparation efforts described in this report, and continuing to develop new strategies in an integrated and co-beneficial manner can help build resistance and resilience to climate change across multiple sectors in the Upper Willamette River Basin and enable the region to thrive over the coming century. 

In the fall of 2008, the University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) and the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy (NCCSP), in partnership with the Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil-System (MAPSS) Team at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, initiated a project to assess the likely consequences of climate change for the Upper Willamette River Basin. The Basin is defined as the region from the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers south and east to the headwaters of the South Fork Willamette, Middle Fork Willamette, and McKenzie rivers. This report outlines a framework for climate preparation activities in the Basin, but specific details, locations and issues will need to be addressed by community leaders, resource managers, business leaders, scientists, and other groups. 

Preparing for Coastal Change: A Guide for Local Government in New Zealand

Much of New Zealand’s urban development and infrastructure is located in coastal areas, some of which are vulnerable to coastal hazards such as coastal erosion and inundation. In recent years, coastal development and associated infrastructure have intensified, and property values have increased. As development increases, the potential impacts and consequences of coastal hazards also increase. Managing this growing risk now presents a significant challenge for planning authorities in New Zealand.

Preparing for coastal change provides information to help local government and others across New Zealand strengthen the integration of coastal hazards and climate change considerations into policy, planning, asset management and decision-making.

Climate change effects are gradual, but have implications for many land-use planning decisions. They have long-term implications because of the long lifetime of structures (eg, buildings, roads, network utilities, residential developments). Considering climate change is not only a requirement of the Resource Management Act 1991, it is also wise and good business practice.

The guide comprises three parts:

Part One – The changing climate:

• discusses how climate change affects sea level

• provides guidance on planning for future sea-level rise in New Zealand

• explains the impacts of climate change on other physical drivers that influence coastal hazards such as high tides, storms, storm surge and storm tides, wave climate and sediment supply to the coast.

Part Two – Implications for New Zealand’s coastal margins:

• outlines some implications of climate change for the risk of coastal inundation and coastal erosion

• recommends how to assess these effects

•outlines the implications for salinization of surface freshwaters and groundwater covers, coastal defences and inundation by tsunami

Part Three – Responding to climate change:

• covers the legislative context

• suggests mechanisms for managing, avoiding and reducing coastal hazard risks

• deals with managing residual risk and monitoring change

• discusses some challenges in reducing coastal hazard risk 

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan: A Plan for New Hampshire’s Energy, Environmental and Economic Development Future

New Hampshire’s Climate Action Plan presents an opportunity to:

  • Spur economic growth through investment in our own state’s economy of monies currently spent on energy imports.
  • Create jobs and economic growth through development of in-state sources of energy from renewable and low emitting resources, and green technology development and deployment by New Hampshire businesses.
  • Avoid the significant costs of responding to a changing climate on the state’s infrastructure, economy, and the health of our citizens.

Living with Climate Change: How Prairie Farmers Deal with Increasing Weather Variability

The effects of climate change have become a relevant and important issue of national concern in the past decade. While significant debate remains over the extent to which humans have induced climate change, it has generally been accepted that the effects of climate change are manifested in terms of increased weather variability, a higher frequency of extreme weather events and decreased predictability (Berkes and Jolly 2001; Smit et al. 2003; Venema 2005). This increased frequency of climate related shocks and stresses and difficulty in predicting growing conditions poses a significant threat to the livelihood of producers in the Canadian Prairie agroecosystem (IISD 1997). The success or failure of agriculture is intimately tied to weather conditions. It is the ability of producers to deal with climate-related shocks and stresses and adapt to change that is essential for their survival (Turner et al. 2003; Wall et al. 2004; Venema 2005).

Successful adaptations to climate change are accomplished through actions that reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience. Generally speaking, increasing options and diversifying activities are two of the main ways producers can increase resilience (Berkes & Jolly 2001; Turner et al. 2003; Walker et al. 2004). While this is not a new concept, its applicability to agricultural climate change adaptation has yet to be thoroughly explored. There already exists a wealth of knowledge on prairie agroecosystem resilience within the collective knowledge of producers. Producers may not describe their actions as building resilience however they have been adjusting their operations to changes in climate and advances in technology for generations. The nature of agriculture requires producers to be keen observers of change and have an intimate connection to their land. Building resilience into current agricultural operations may be a significant aid to producer’s abilities to adapt to weather unpredictability associated with climate change.

Climate Change and Security in Africa

As science has revealed that the rate and intensity of climate change is increasing at unprecedented levels, we have begun to realize that it holds potentially serious implications for international security. Analysts argue that climate change—by redrawing the maps of water availability, food security, disease prevalence and coastal boundaries—could potentially increase forced migration, raise tensions and trigger new conflicts.

The imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage the impacts of climate change present, in the starkest manner possible, our global interdependence. Africa, though the continent the least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, is almost universally seen as the continent most at risk of climate-induced conflict—a function of the continent’s reliance on climate-dependent sectors (such as rain-fed agriculture) and its history of resource, ethnic and political conflict. At the turn of the 21st century more people were being killed in wars in this region than in the rest of the world combined.

However, recent years have seen a steady progress in the improvement of Africa’s economic prospects, in the reduction of levels of conflict and in the quality of governance and the number and nature of democracies. The African Union and its constituent regional economic communities, through its security architecture, have developed into key players in the reduction of conflict in Africa. Nevertheless, with its tremendous natural resources and remarkable social and ecological diversity, the continent reflects a close dependency of people on natural resources. It is this dependency and its fragile governance capacities that may present Africa with potentially severe problems in adapting to the future effects of climate change.

In this report, prepared for the Nordic-African Foreign Ministers Forum in Copenhagen in March 2009, IISD examines some of the threats that climate change could pose to security for the continent. These include:

  • Increased water scarcity
  • Decreased food security
  • Large-scale climate-induced migration
  • The impact of climate change on poverty and state fragility
  • Non-linear climate change

The paper also identifies a set of strategies for peace and development in a changing climate:

  • Improve projections and predictions
  • Minimize dangerous climate change
  • Adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • Integrate climate change into all relevant levels of governance

Recommendations to the Governor's Subcabinet on Climate Change

The Immediate Action Workgroup of the Governor’s Executive Subcabinet on Climate Change was established to address known threats to communities caused by coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, flooding, and fires. The objective was to close a planning and execution gap identified by Governor Palin and the Congressional delegation by creating a unifying mechanism to assist the communities of Newtok, Shishmaref, Kivalina, Koyukuk, Unalakleet,and Shaktoolik. These communities face imminent threats of loss of life, loss of infrastructure, loss of public and private property, or health epidemics caused by coastal erosion, thawing permafrost and flooding.

These collective recommendations represent an intensive collaborative effort undertaken in an open public forum to address the immediate needs of the State and these immediate actions combined with the policy recommendations were developed to serve as a template and model to assist other Alaska communities in an effective manner as they may become or are impacted by erosion and other natural hazards that seem to be increasing in number and severity.

Preparing for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region

On June 27, 2008, forty representatives from Great Lakes foundations, non‐governmental organizations, agencies, and universities, convened in Flint, Michigan for a one‐day workshop titled “Preparing for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region.” The workshop was sponsored by the Mott Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kresge Foundation, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, and Michigan Sea Grant. The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Identify policy changes that will enable Great Lakes communities to adapt to climate change and protect major ecosystems.
  • Identify strategies for implementing those policy changes.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Final Management Plan

This management plan is Volume I of a two-volume set. It contains information about the Sanctuary's environment and resources, staffing and administration, regulations and boundary, operational and programmatic costs, priority management issues and the actions proposed to address them, and performance measures. This management plan represents a major revision of the original 1983 management plan under which the Sanctuary previously operated.

Land and Water Resource Management in Asia: Challenges for Climate Adaptation

The paper, prepared as background to a workshop held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in January 2009, links the issues of poverty reduction, land and water resource management, and climate adaptation in practice. Within Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, as elsewhere, land and water resource management issues are most pronounced in areas of marginal production systems, and directly connected to poverty reduction efforts. Climate change is likely to exacerbate existing challenges within these sectors in unexpected ways. The paper also reviews some of the many innovative efforts underway in the region to support land and water management and poverty reduction at multiple levels (local, national and regional). It highlights how climate change adaptation measures can complement and reinforce these innovations in land and resource management to reduce rural poverty in Asia. It concludes with the sharing of ideas regarding ways to strengthen the capacity of land and water managers to ensure their continued contribution to the sustainable development of their countries in a changing climate.