Adaptation in the Forest Sector
Climate change is already altering forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree mortality. Increased invasion by nonnative species and erosion are anticipated in arid regions and grasslands due to elevated temperatures and drought. In moist temperate regions, species shifts and increased risk of windfall, wildfire, ice storms and insect outbreaks are likely. Thus, in the future, resources managed by land owners in forest-reliant communities and by state or federal agencies will be exposed to new risks and opportunities as climates continue to change.
In an extensive study by the US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, our research team on National Forests found that the US Forest Service as a whole will need to develop a toolbox of flexible new management practices for effective adaptation. These should involve managers at many levels within the Forest Service, as well as external agencies and the public, to gather data, monitor ecosystems, and adjust practices as needed.
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