Managing an Ancient Ecosystem for the Modern World: Coast Redwoods and Climate Change
Coast redwoods and their many associated species create an iconic ecosystem, yet the impacts of stressors, including a variety of land use practices and climate change, threaten their continued persistence on the landscape. In September 2013, we held a workshop with researchers, managers, and other redwoods experts to explore the likely impacts of climate change and develop some initial strategies for adaptation. Workshop participants from diverse backgrounds identified four primary strategies to increasing the resilience of redwood ecosystems in the face of climate change. These included (1) restoring old-growth characteristics that protect stands from many stressors; (2) improving connectivity among intact redwood forest patches throughout the range of redwoods; (3) reducing stressors that exacerbate the impacts of climate change, such as roads, fragmentation, development, and fire exclusion; and (4) coordinating management across the redwood range, and across land ownership, allowing for conservation and/or restoration of climate change refuges and areas of connectivity. Workshop participants expressed great interest in continued meetings that provide for sharing of information; informational “hubs” that allow for online sharing; and coordinated research and monitoring efforts that inform management and restoration of redwood ecosystems. The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) that supported this work, including the California LCC and the North Pacific LCC are well aligned for supporting these needs and providing increased coordination across land ownership of the redwoods region.