In the U.S. Southwest, global climate change, acting in concert with extant stressors such as urbanization and over-allocation of water resources, is changing ecosystems in measureable and sometimes dramatic ways. Twenty-frst century projections indicate accelerating climate change and cascading ecological consequences. Effects observed to date include large-scale forest dieback, large and severe wildfres, and changes in the flow regimes of rivers and streams with attendant changes to riparian and aquatic ecosystems.
This document, Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy, lays out a framework to protect our communities, natural resources, and economy from the impacts of climate change and build our capacity to adapt to expected climate changes. It describes how existing and new state policies and programs can better prepare Washington to respond to the impacts of climate change.
Climate change presents an uncertain future with potentially high costs for Missoula County in western Montana. The area's economy and high quality of life that draw and keep people in the region could be in jeopardy due to changes in average temperature, stream flows, and precipitation. While the exact trajectory of change is unknown, preparations can be made for the future based on a reasonable range of expected scenarios. Preparing for climate change is similar to preparing for other potential events, such as fire or drought.
Claudia Mengelt and Robert Fri talk about coping with climate change. What short-term actions can be taken to respond effectively to climate change? What promising long-term strategies, investments, and opportunities could be pursued? This session summarizes the findings from a recent series of reports by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science highlighting options for adapting to and mitigating global climate change.
Forest managers are seeking practical guidance on how to adapt their current practices and, if necessary, their management goals, in response to climate change. Science management collaboration was initiated on national forests in eastern Washington where resource managers showed a keen interest in science-based options for adapting to climate change. Over a two day workshop scientists and managers reviewed current climate change science and identified resources vulnerable to expected climate change.
It’s time to examine how our current operating systems — the institutions of social, political, and economic relations — leave us vulnerable. Then we can begin to draw a new map for navigating the territory ahead. While individual maps may differ, a set of core principles for developing 21st-century institutions is common to us all. They are the principles of resilience. Stated simply, human resilience is the capacity to effectively influence and adapt to change.