Adapting to Climate Change in the Western National Forests

Date: January 26, 2016

Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. (MST)

Speakers: Jessica Halofsky, Dave Peterson, Natalie Little

Natalie Little is the Forest Service Intermountain Regional Sustainability and Climate Change Coordinator and works out of the Regional Office in Ogden, Utah.  She has been in this position since 2014 and has been with the USDA Forest Service 1992.  From 1992 – 2010, she worked as a civil engineer planning, designing, and overseeing construction on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Jessica Halofsky is a research ecologist with the University of Washington and is affiliated with Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Jessica received an M.S. in Forestry from Penn State, and a Ph.D. in Forest Science from Oregon State University. Her research interests include fire and disturbance ecology, vegetation dynamics, and climate change (ecosystem impacts and adaptation). Jessica pioneered one of the first climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation projects with Olympic National Forest and Park. She is currently working on climate change science and adaptation projects across the western U.S.

Dave Peterson is a Senior Research Biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.  He has conducted research on fire science and climate change throughout western North America, has published over 200 scientific articles and three books, and as a contributing author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.   He recently published the book Climate Change and United States Forests, and currently works on climate change adaptation on federal lands throughout the West. 

Summary: The U.S. Forest Service is leading several partnerships focused on (1) assessing the effects of climate change on natural resources, (2) developing adaptation options to reduce negative effects, and (3) implementing climate-smart resource management and planning in national forests.  These partnerships have learned that building resilience to extreme weather and increased ecological disturbance will be the primary challenge for managing water, fish, vegetation, and infrastructure throughout the 21st century.  The Intermountain Adaptation Partnership--currently underway in public lands in Utah, Nevada, and southern Idaho--will provide an assessment of climate change vulnerability and adaptation strategies to guide resource management across this diverse biogeographic region.

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