Vulnerability of Species to Climate Change in the Southwest: Threatened, Endangered, and At-Risk Species at the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona

Karen E. Bagne, Deborah M. Finch
Posted on: 7/18/2022 - Updated on: 11/08/2023

Posted by

CAKE Team

Published

Abstract

Future climate change is anticipated to result in ecosystem changes, and consequently, many species are expected to become increasingly vulnerable to extinction. This scenario is of particular concern for threatened, endangered, and at-risk species (TER-S) or other rare species. The response of species to climate change is uncertain and will be the outcome of complex interactions and processes. Nevertheless, a simple flexible strategy is needed to help integrate climate change into management planning and actions.

This assessment uses SAVS, an assessment tool based on ecological principals, to rank individual species of interest within the eastern portion of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona, according to predicted climate change responses and associated population declines balanced with responses expected to incur resilience or population increases.

Further, specific areas of vulnerability, research needs, and management implications are identified for each species in detailed species accounts. Based solely on predicted response to climate change, Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) and desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) are the most vulnerable to population declines. Results also suggest that climate change will make management of some TER-S species more difficult.

Several critical management areas are identified that can mitigate negative impacts to benefit multiple species, including fire and fuels, invasive species, natural and artificial waters, and landscape-scale planning. Management planning should be in place that will assist species impacted by extreme events such as prolonged drought, severe wildfires, and/or intense flooding. The assessment process was also used to identify areas where climate change may present opportunities, as opposed to challenges, for species management.

Citation

Bagne, Karen E.; Finch, Deborah M. 2012. Vulnerability of species to climate change in the Southwest: threatened, endangered, and at-risk species at the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-284. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 139 p.

Affiliated Organizations

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to support the American agricultural economy to strengthen rural communities; to protect and conserve our natural resources; and to provide a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply for the American people. The Department’s wide range of programs and responsibilities touches the lives of every American every day. This factsheet provides information about some of our agencies and offices, their missions, responsibilities, and services they provide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

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