The Added Complications of Climate Change: Understanding and Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Ecosystems around the world are already threatened by land-use and land-cover change, extraction of natural resources, biological disturbances, and pollution. These environmental stressors have been the primary source of ecosystem degradation to date, and climate change is now exacerbating some of their effects. Ecosystems already under stress are likely to have more rapid and acute reactions to climate change; it is therefore useful to understand how multiple stresses will interact, especially as the magnitude of climate change increases.

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

The State of Adaptation in the United States, a synthesis commissioned and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and undertaken by EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University, and the University of California-Davis, provides examples of societal responses to climate change in our planning and management of cities, agriculture and natural resources. These examples include regulatory measures, management strategies and information sharing.

Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Communities: Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies

Coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes region will be impacted by climate change. Namely, changes in water level could have dire consequences for existing wetlands and dependent bird and fish communities. To examine the impacts climate change may cause to coastal wetlands, project staff assessed vulnerabilities and evaluated adaptation options.

National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

Fish, wildlife, and plants provide jobs, food, clean water, storm protection, health benefits and many other important ecosystem services that support people, communities and economies across the nation every day. The observed changes in the climate are already impacting these valuable resources and systems. These impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system. Action is needed now to help safeguard these natural resources and the communities and economies that depend on them.

Climate Change Adaptation Planning at the State Level in Minnesota

The Minnesota Interagency Climate Adaptation Team (ICAT) and the state Climate Change Adaptation Working Group (CCAWG) are complementary initiatives designed to address and develop responses to the effects of climate change. These groups and their members are developing and implementing strategies to advance climate change adaptation in the state in order to limit negative effects, take advantage of potential opportunities, and improve the resilience of natural and human systems in a changing climate.

Preserving the Pika: Understanding Habitat Needs with Changing Climate Conditions in Montana

American pikas, a cousin of the rabbit, live on boulder fields and talus slopes at high elevations in the Intermountain West. Pikas are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures as a result of climate change, and will need to adapt by shifting their ranges to higher altitudes or by finding microclimate refugia that are buffered from extremes. Unfortunately, little is known about the locations and numbers of pika populations in Montana, making it difficult for managers to develop strategies and actions to enable pikas to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The High Divide Project: Maintaining and Enhancing Core and Connectivity Habitats for Wildlife

The High Divide region links together core protected areas in Montana and Idaho and is an important migration corridor for big game, grizzly bears, and other carnivores. To help maintain critical linkage areas in the region, the Craighead Institute is working on a set of conservation planning tools intended to guide wildlife-friendly land use and development. The implementation of these tools will help ensure that animal migration routes remain open, allowing wildlife to adapt to changing climate conditions.

Crucial Areas Planning System (CAPS): Identifying Critical Areas and Fish and Wildlife Corridors in Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is conducting a Crucial Areas Assessment, which includes identifying and ranking core areas important for wildlife as well as key wildlife connectivity areas. One of the main products of this effort is the Crucial Areas Planning System (CAPS), a mapping service aimed at helping county planners, developers, non-governmental organizations, and others make smarter development and conservation decisions.