Changing Climatic Conditions Effects on Landscapes

Connecting the dots

With a changing climate, species shifts will occur in the next 20 years with high elevation species declining or disappearing; snowpack has been declining the past 20+ years which will affect water quantity and quality; cold temperature aquatic species, and recreation and tourism. Current vulnerabilities will be exacerbated- fire risk increasing; more extreme floods and droughts. These are well described and modeled in the IPCC reports. Within the public and private lands interface, this means we can no longer box these lands out. Landscape scale approaches are necessary to be resilient. Reconnecting floodplains to mitigate flood and drought and provide migratory corridors for species to be able to safely migrate as the climate changes. Getting our forests back to a condition where they are adapted to fire and not overcrowded; having heterogeneous stands where low burns can occur without turning into catastrophic wildfires, and there is enough space to enhance resiliency not just to fire but to pathogens and diseases as well. PRIORITIZATION is critical to this. Where to treat and manage first? We can't possibly do it all now, so where do we focus? And how does treatment on terrestrial, upland areas impacts aquatic functions and water quality/quantity? Using models that incorporate climate change scenarios into decision making and management scenarios is important. Also looking at the variety of ecosystem services provided by the landscape and where to enhance or protect those. And how to keep the watersheds healthy and connected so they are more viable and resilient. Community engagement is key to be able to do this at a landscape scale- on public and private lands- to have a greater impact.

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Idea No. 41