Unfamiliar Territory: Emerging Themes for Ecological Drought Research and Management
Novel forms of drought are emerging globally, due to climate change, shifting teleconnection patterns, expanding human water use, and a history of human influence on the environment that increases the probability of transformational ecological impacts. These costly ecological impacts cascade to human communities, and understanding this changing drought landscape is one of today’s grand challenges. By using a modified horizon-scanning approach that integrated scientists, managers, and decision-makers, authors identified the emerging issues in ecological drought that represent key challenges to timely and effective responses. Here the authors review the themes that most urgently need attention, including novel drought conditions, the potential for transformational drought impacts, and the need for anticipatory drought management. This horizon scan and review provides a roadmap to facilitate the research and management innovations that will support forward-looking, co-developed approaches to reduce the risk of drought to our socio-ecological systems during the 21st century.