Scientists have been warning for years that human activity is heating up the planet and climate change is under way. In the past century, global temperatures have risen an average of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, a trend that is expected to only accelerate. But public sentiment has taken a long time to catch up, and we are only just beginning to acknowledge the serious effects this will have on all life on Earth. The federal government is crafting broad-scale strategies to protect wildland ecosystems from the worst effects of climate change. The challenge now is to get the latest science into the hands of resource managers entrusted with protecting water, plants, fish and wildlife, tribal lands, and cultural heritage sites in wildlands.
Teaming with NASA and the Department of the Interior, ecologist Andrew Hansen, along with his team of scientists and managers, set out to understand how climate and land use changes affect montane landscapes of the Rockies and the Appalachians, and how these findings can be applied to wildlands elsewhere. They examine changes over the past century as well as expected future change, assess the vulnerability of species and ecosystems to these changes, and provide new, collaborative management approaches to mitigate expected impacts. A series of case studies showcases how managers might tackle such wide-ranging problems as the effects of warming streams on cold-water fish in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and dying white-bark pine stands in the Greater Yellowstone area. A surprising finding is that species and ecosystems vary dramatically in vulnerability to climate change. While many will suffer severe effects, others may actually benefit from projected changes.
Climate Change in Wildlands is a collaboration between scientists and managers, providing a science-derived framework and common-sense approaches for keeping parks and protected areas healthy on a rapidly changing planet.
"Climate Change in Wildlands is an important contribution to resource managers and scientists facing the daunting challenges of climate change. Through work in two mountain ranges – Rockies and Appalachians – the authors illustrate an approach to climate change adaptation informed by analyses, decision support tools, and dialogue with land managers to identify threats to resources and options for responding. Climate change presents unprecedented challenges to those responsible for stewardship of our public lands. This volume provides important examples and guidance for navigating those challenges."
– Jonathan B. Jarvis
"There has been much talk about linking science to wildlands management under climate change. This outstanding book actually demonstrates how to do so, providing clear guidance for adaptation planning, thoughtful how-to advice, and excellent case studies."
– Frank Davis, Director, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
"A down-to-earth scientific analysis of impending impacts of climate change on American wildlands and ecosystems. Climate Change in Wildlands is sobering yet encouraging, because it provides insights for proactive management of these precious ecological resources. This is a fine book that will be the source to turn to for decades to come."
– Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Management, George Mason University
Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Study Climate Change in Mountains? \ Andrew J. Hansen
PART I: Approaches for Climate Adaptation Planning
Chapter 2. Linking Climate Science and Management \ John E. Gross and S. Thomas Olliff
Chapter 3. Challenges and Approaches for Integrating Climate Science into Federal Land Management \ S. Thomas Olliff and Andrew J. Hansen
PART II: Climate and Land Use Change
Chapter 4. Historical and Projected Climates to Support Climate Adaptation across the Northern Rocky Mountains \ John E. Gross, Michael Tercek, Kevin Guay, Marian Talbert, Tony Chang, Ann Rodman, David Thoma, Patrick Jantz, and Jeffrey T. Morisette
Chapter 5. Foundational Analyses of Historical and Projected Climates as a Basis for Climate Change Exposure and Adaptation Potential across the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative \ Kevin Guay, Patrick Jantz, John E. Gross, Brendan M. Rogers, and Scott J.Goetz
Chapter 6. Assessing Vulnerability to Land Use and Climate Change at Landscape Scales: Landforms and Physiographic Diversity as Coarse-Filter Targets Representing Species and Processes \ David M. Theobald, William B. Monahan, Dylan Harrison-Atlas, Andrew J. Hansen, Patrick Jantz, John E. Gross, and S. Thomas Olliff
PART III: Ecological Consequences and Vulnerabilities
Chapter 7. Quantifying Impacts of Climate Change on Ecosystem Processes in the Great Northern and Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperatives \ Forrest Melton
Chapter 8. Modeling Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Vegetation for National Parks in the Eastern United States \ Patrick Jantz, William B. Monahan, Andrew J. Hansen, Brendan M. Rogers, Scott Zolkos, Tina Cormier, Scott Goetz
Chapter 9. Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Tree Species and Biome Types in the United States Northern Rocky Mountains \ Andrew J. Hanse, and Linda B. Phillips
Chapter 10. Past, Present, and Future Climate Shapes the Vegetation Communities of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem across Elevation Gradients \ Nathan Piekielek, Andrew J. Hansen, and Tony Chang
Chapter 11. Assessing the Vulnerability of Tree Species to Climate Change in the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative \ Brendan M. Rogers, Patrick Jantz, Scott J. Goetz, and David M. Theobald
Chapter 12. Likely Responses of Native and Invasive Salmonid Fishes to Climate Change in the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains \ Bradley B. Shepard, Robert Al-Chokhachy, Todd Koel, Matthew A. Kulp, and Nathaniel Hitt
PART IV. Managing under Climate Change
Chapter 13. Opportunities, Challenges, Approaches to Achieving Climate-Smart Adaptation \ S. Thomas Olliff, William B. Monahan, Virginia Kelly, and David M. Theobald
Chapter 14. Perspectives on Responding to Climate Change at Rocky Mountain National Park \ Ben Bobowski, Isabel Ashton, and William B. Monahan
Chapter 15. Case Study: Whitebark Pine in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem \ Karl Buemeyer, Dan Reinhart, Kristen Legg
Chapter 16. Assessing Success in Sustaining Wildland Ecosystems: Insights from Greater Yellowstone \ Andrew J. Hansen, and Linda B. Phillips.
Chapter 17. Conclusion \ Andrew J. Hansen, David M. Theobald, S. Thomas Olliff, and William B. Monahan
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Andrew Hansen is a professor in the Ecology Department at Montana State University. William B. Monahan is an ecologist with the US National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program. David M. Theobald is a senior scientist at Conservation Science Partners in Fort Collins, Colorado, and adjunct professor at Colorado State University.