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Assessment of Watershed Vulnerability to Climate Change for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National Forests, Utah

Watersheds on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Ashley National Forests provide many ecosystem services, and climate change poses a risk to these services. We developed a watershed vulnerability assessment to provide scientific information for land managers facing the challenge of managing these watersheds. Literature-based information and expert elicitation is used to define components of watershed sensitivity and exposure to climate change. We also define the capacity of watershed function, habitats, and biota to adapt to the expected changes.

Literature Review: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Assessment, and Adaptation Approaches

Incorporation of climate change impacts into transportation decisions is still a relatively new concept. As decision makers in various sectors grapple with information on climate change effects and how they may or may not impact their core mission(s), they are turning to existing tools and approaches for guidance. To date, three closely-related approaches are being used to help transportation decision makers consider and prepare for future climate impacts: vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, and adaptation assessment.

Responding to Ecological Drought in the Intermountain Region

The economic, social, and environmental costs of drought can be significant, and vulnerability to drought will likely increase in the future with a warming climate. To promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands, the National Drought Resilience Partnership was initiated in 2016. As a part of this effort, the U.S. Forest Service conducted a series of focused workshops across the country to build the capacity to address the impact of short- and long-term drought on forest and rangeland resources, thus informing land management, restoration, and climate change adaptation.

Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector

U.S. agriculture faces significant changes in local patterns of precipitation and temperature over the next century, with implications for regional water cycling and water availability. The effects of climate change on food production, farmer livelihoods, and consumer welfare will depend on the direction, magnitude, and rate of change in local weather conditions, as well as on the ability of the agricultural sector to adapt to changing yield and productivity patterns, production costs, and resource availability.

Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production

In the United States, climate change is likely to increase average daily temperatures and the frequency of heat waves, which can reduce meat and milk production in animals. Methods that livestock producers use to mitigate thermal stress—including modifications to animal management or housing—tend to increase production costs and capital expenditures. Dairy cows are particularly sensitive to heat stress, and the dairy sector has been estimated to bear over half of the costs of current heat stress to the livestock industry.

The Role of Conservation Programs in Drought Risk Adaptation

This report evaluates the extent to which farms facing higher levels of drought risk are more likely to participate in conservation programs, and finds a strong link between drought risk and program participation. Prior research has shown that climate-related risk exposure influences production decisions such as crop choice; our research shows that adaptation also includes program participation decisions.

Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate: Economic and Environmental Implications Vary by U.S. Region

Global climate models predict increases over time in average temperature worldwide, with significant impacts on local patterns of temperature and precipitation. The extent to which such changes present a risk to food supplies, farmer livelihoods, and rural communities depends in part on the direction, magnitude, and rate of such changes, but equally importantly on the ability of the agricultural sector to adapt to changing patterns of yield and productivity, production cost, and resource availability.

Southwest Regional Climate Hub and California Subsidiary Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

This report describes the potential vulnerability of specialty crops, field crops, forests, and animal agriculture to climate-driven environmental changes. Here, vulnerability is defined as a function of exposure to climate change effects, sensitivity to these effects, and adaptive capacity. The exposure of specific sectors of the agricultural and forestry industries varies across the region because the Southwest is climatically and topographically diverse. There is also variability in the sensitivity of different systems to the effects of climate change.

Southeast Regional Climate Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

From the mountainous areas of the Ozarks and southern Appalachians to the coastal plains of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, and from the temperate climate of Kentucky and Tennessee to the subtropical climate of southern Florida, the wide range of environments across the southeastern United States provide the basis for the region’s long and rich cultural and economic history. Sea level rise, hurricanes, extreme heat, and decreased water availability are the major stressors outlined by the National Climate Assessment for the Southeast (Carter et al., 2014) This report assesses the region