AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY (includes Pacific Island Territories)
This report details challenges of changing climatic conditions primarily in terms of rural forests, but urban forests ecosystems are also mentioned. Climate variability, its impacts, and risk management strategies are discussed by region.
Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis covers a wide expanse of management issues. The USDA’s Climate Hubs have synthesized the assessment for each of their region’s stakeholders.
After five years of work, Jefferson Land Trust’s Conservation Plan, a long-range, hundred-year vision of county growth and resource stewardship, was completed in 2010. JLT’s projects highlight how strategic planning can effectively align complementary management objectives such as stewarding sustainable working lands, conserving habitat, providing recreation, and enhancing overall resilience of ecosystems.
Coastal areas are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but land trusts in these areas are already successfully working to manage coastal habitats for climate change. Planning to address observed shifts and anticipating likely future impacts can help achieve long-term management objectives and build resilience of critical ecosystems.
Climate change is already altering fire regimes, invasive plant and insect dispersal, and disease occurrence in forests across the United States. As average global temperature continues to warm, these changes will continue, presenting greater challenges to efforts to sustainably manage forests lands.
Grasslands cover approximately 400 million acres of the contiguous United States.Despite their extensive distribution, grasslands and the neighboring deserts that make up more arid regions are sensitive ecosystems that can be vulnerable to extreme changes in temperature and shifts in precipitation. Land trusts are working to manage grasslands for climate change to protect the biodiversity, habitats, and ecosystem services these landscapes provide.
Climate change has already been linked to changes in wildlife distribution, reproduction and behavior. Enhancing connectivity and “conserving the stage” are critical conservation objectives that can help species adapt to changing conditions.
The Pacific Forest Trust is a pioneer of approaches and standards used to create forest climate policies including carbon emissions reductions or offset projects which harness and protect the natural ability of forests to accumulate and hold carbon, acting as carbon “sinks” and providing essential climate benefits.
In California Pacifica Land Trust works with other partners to restore wetlands and implement a managed retreat strategy for Pacifica State Beach to reduce flooding risks.
The Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience’s Priority Agenda Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources is the result of an interagency effort to inventory and assess current policies, programs, and regulations.