Assessing vulnerabilities and adapting to climate change in northwestern U.S. forests

  • Jessica E. Halofsky
  • David L. Peterson
  • Holly R. Prendeville
Article

Abstract

Multiple climate change vulnerability assessments in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA provide the scientific information needed to begin adaptation in forested landscapes. Adaptation options developed by resource managers in conjunction with these assessments, newly summarized in the Climate Change Adaptation Library of the Western United States, provide an extensive choice of peer-reviewed climate-smart management strategies and tactics. More adaptation options are available for vegetation than for any other resource category, allowing vegetation management to be applied across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Good progress has been made in strategic development and planning for climate change adaptation in the Northwest, although on-the-ground implementation is in the early stages. However, recent regulatory mandates plus the increasing occurrence of extreme events (drought, wildfires, insect outbreaks) provide motivation to accelerate the adaptation process in planning and management on federal lands and beyond. Timely implementation of adaptation and collaboration across boundaries will help ensure the functionality of Northwest forests at broad spatial scales in a warmer climate.

References

  1. Abatzoglou JT (2013) Development of gridded surface meteorological data for ecological applications and modelling. Int J Climatol 33:121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abatzoglou JT, Brown TJ (2012) A comparison of statistical downscaling methods suited for wildfire applications. Int J Climatol 32:772–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abatzoglou JT, Rupp DE, Mote PW (2014) Seasonal climate variability and change in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. J Clim 27:2125–2142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen CD, Macalady AK, Chenchouni H et al (2010) A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests. For Ecol Manag 259:660–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bachelet D, Lenihan JM, Daly C et al (2001) MC1: a dynamic vegetation model for estimating the distribution of vegetation and associated ecosystem fluxes of carbon, nutrients, and water. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  6. Bierbaum R, Smith JB, Lee A et al (2013) A comprehensive review of climate adaptation in the United States: more than before, but less than needed. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 18:361–406. doi:10.1007/s11027-012-9423-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buotte PC, Peterson DL, McKelvey KS, Hicke JA (2016) Capturing subregional variability in regional-scale climate change vulnerability assessments of natural resources. J Environ Manag 169:313–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carey AB, Harrington CA (2001) Small mammals in young forests: implications for management for sustainability. For Ecol Manag 154:289–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chmura DJ, Anderson PD, Howe GT et al (2011) Forest responses to climate change in the northwestern United States: ecophysiological foundations for adaptive management. For Ecol Manag 261:1121–1142. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.12.040 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Churchill DJ, Larson AJ, Dahlgreen MC et al (2013) Restoring forest resilience: from reference spatial patterns to silvicultural prescriptions and monitoring. For Ecol Manag 291:442–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark JS, Iverson L, Woodall CW et al (2016) The impacts of increasing drought on forest dynamics, structure, and biodiversity in the United States. Glob Change Biol 22:2329–2352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cross MS, McCarthy PD, Garfin G et al (2013) Accelerating adaptation of natural resource management to address climate change. Conserv Biol 27:4–13. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01954.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dalton MM, Mote PW, Snover AK (2013) Climate change in the northwest: implications for our landscapes, waters and communities. Island Press, WashingtonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dymond CC, Tedder S, Spittlehouse DL et al (2014) Diversifying managed forests to increase resilience. Can J For Res 44:1196–1205. doi:10.1139/cjfr-2014-0146 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Federal Register (2012) National Forest System land management planning. Final rule and record of decisionGoogle Scholar
  16. Grotta AT, Creighton JH, Schnepf C, Kantor S (2013) Family forest owners and climate change: understanding, attitudes, and educational needs. J Forest 111:87–93. doi:10.5849/jof.12-052
  17. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL (2016) Climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options for forest vegetation management in the northwestern USA. Atmosphere. doi:10.3390/atmos7030046
  18. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL (2017) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Blue Mountains. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  19. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Aubry C et al (2011a) Climate change and vegetation management at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. In: Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, O’Halloran K, Hawkins Hoffman C (eds) Adapting to climate change at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, pp 61–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, O’Halloran KA, Hawkins-Hoffman C (2011b) Adapting to climate change at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Marcinkowski KW (2015) Climate change adaptation in United States federal natural resource science and management agencies: a synthesis. U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Change Adaptation Interagency Working GroupGoogle Scholar
  22. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Dante-Wood SK et al (2017) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Northern Rocky Mountains. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort CollinsGoogle Scholar
  23. Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Joyce LA et al (2014) Implementing climate change adaptation in forested regions of the United States. In: Sample VA, Bixler RP (eds) Forest conservation and management in the anthropocene: conference proceedings. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, pp 229–243Google Scholar
  24. Hicke JA, Meddens AJ, Kolden CA (2016) Recent tree mortality in the western United States from bark beetles and forest fires. For Sci 62:141–153Google Scholar
  25. Joyce LA, Blate GM, McNulty SG et al (2009) Managing for multiple resources under climate change: national forests. Environ Manag 44:1022–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Keane RE, Mahalovich MF, Bollenbacher B et al (2017) Forest vegetation. In: Halofsky JE, Peterson DL, Dante-Wood SK et al (eds) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Northern Rockies. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort CollinsGoogle Scholar
  27. Kerns BK, Powell DC, Mellmann-Brown S et al (2016) Effects of climatic variability and change on upland vegetation in the Blue Mountains. In: Halofsky JE, Peterson DL (eds) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Blue Mountains. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  28. Kolb TE, Fettig CJ, Ayres MP, et al (2016) Observed and anticipated impacts of drought on forest insects and diseases in the United StatesGoogle Scholar
  29. Latta G, Temesgen H, Adams D, Barrett T (2010) Analysis of potential impacts of climate change on forests of the United States Pacific Northwest. For Ecol Manag 259:720–729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lawler JJ (2009) Climate change adaptation strategies for resource management and conservation planning. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1162:79–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Littell JS, Peterson DL, Tjoelker M (2008) Douglas-fir growth in mountain ecosystems: water limits tree growth from stand to region. Ecol Monogr 78:349–368. doi:10.1890/07-0712.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Littell JS, Oneil EE, McKenzie D et al (2010) Forest ecosystems, disturbance, and climatic change in Washington State, USA. Clim Chang 102:129–158. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9858-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Littell JS, Peterson DL, Millar CI, O’Halloran KA (2012) U.S. National Forests adapt to climate change through science–management partnerships. Clim Chang 110:269–296. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0066-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Littell JS, Hicke JA, Shafer SL et al (2013) Forest ecosystems. In: Dalton MM, Mote PW, Snover AK (eds) Climate change in the Northwest. Island Press, Washington, pp 110–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Littell JS, Raymond CL, Rochefort RM, Klein SL (2014) Climate change and vegetation in the North Cascade Range. In: Raymond CL, Peterson DL, Rochefort RM (eds) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the North Cascades region. Washington. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, pp 113–117Google Scholar
  36. Luce CH, Holden ZA (2009) Declining annual streamflow distributions in the Pacific Northwest United States, 1948–2006. Geophys Res Lett 36:n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1029/2009GL039407
  37. Luce C, Morgan P, Dwire K et al (2012) Climate change, forests, fire, water, and fish: building resilient landscapes, streams, and managers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort CollinsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Luce C, Abatzoglou J, Holden Z (2013) The missing mountain water: slower westerlies decrease orographic enhancement in the Pacific Northwest USA. Science 342:1360–1364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Luce CH, Vose JM, Pederson N, et al (2016) Contributing factors for drought in United States forest ecosystems under projected future climates and their uncertaintyGoogle Scholar
  40. van Mantgem PJ, Stephenson NL, Byrne JC et al (2009) Widespread increase of tree mortality rates in the western United States. Science 323:521–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Meadow AM, Ferguson DB, Guido Z et al (2015) Moving toward the deliberate coproduction of climate science knowledge. Weather Clim Soc 7:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Meddens AJ, Hicke JA, Ferguson CA (2012) Spatiotemporal patterns of observed bark beetle-caused tree mortality in British Columbia and the western United States. Ecol Appl 22:1876–1891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Millar CI, Stephenson NL (2015) Temperate forest health in an era of emerging megadisturbance. Science 349:823–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Millar CI, Stephenson NL, Stephens SL (2007) Climate change and forests of the future: managing in the face of uncertainty. Ecol Appl 17:2145–2151. doi:10.1890/06-1715.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Millar CI, Swanston CW, Peterson DL (2014) Adapting to climate change. In Climate change and United States forests. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 183–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morelli TL, Daly C, Dobrowski SZ et al (2016) Managing climate change refugia for climate adaptation. PLoS One 11:e0159909. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159909 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mote PW (2006) Climate-driven variability and trends in mountain snowpack in western North America*. J Clim 19:6209–6220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mote PW, Salathe EP (2010) Future climate in the Pacific Northwest. Clim Chang 102:29–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Naiman RJ, Decamps H (1997) The ecology of interfaces: riparian zones. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 28:621–658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. National Park Service [NPS] (2010) National Park Service climate change response strategy. National Park Service Climate Change Response Program. Fort Collins, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  51. Noble IR, Huq S, Anokhin YA, et al (2014) Adaptation needs and options. Pages 833–868 In Field CB, Barros VR, Dokken DJ, et al (eds.) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part a: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  52. Peterson DL, Millar CI, Joyce LA et al (2011) Responding to climate change in national forests: a guidebook for developing adaptation options. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pollock MM, Heim M, Werner D (2003) Hydrologic and geomorphic effects of beaver dams and their influence on fishes. Amer Fish Soc Symp 37:213–233Google Scholar
  54. Raymond CL, Peterson DL, Rochefort RM (2013) The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership: a science-management collaboration for responding to climate change. Sustainability 5:136–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Raymond CL, Peterson DL, Rochefort RM (2014) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the North Cascades region. Washington. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Restaino CM, Peterson DL, Littell JS (2016) Increased water deficit decreases Douglas-fir growth throughout western US forests. Proc Nat Acad Sci, USA 113:9557–9562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sample VA, Halofsky JE, Peterson DL (2014) US strategy for forest management adaptation to climate change: building a framework for decision making. Ann For Sci 71:125–130. doi:10.1007/s13595-013-0288-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Seidl R, Spies TA, Peterson DL et al (2016) Searching for resilience: addressing the impacts of changing disturbance regimes on forest ecosystem services. J Appl Ecol 53:120–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Spies TA, Giesen TW, Swanson FJ et al (2010) Climate change adaptation strategies for federal forests of the Pacific Northwest, USA: ecological, policy, and socio-economic perspectives. Landsc Ecol 25:1185–1199. doi:10.1007/s10980-010-9483-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stavros EN, Abatzoglou JT, McKenzie D, Larkin NK (2014) Regional projections of the likelihood of very large wildland fires under a changing climate in the contiguous Western United States. Clim Chang 126:455–468. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1229-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stein BA, Staudt A, Cross MS et al (2013) Preparing for and managing change: climate adaptation for biodiversity and ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 11:502–510. doi:10.1890/120277 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stephens SL, Millar CI, Collins BM (2010) Operational approaches to managing forests of the future in Mediterranean regions within a context of changing climates. Environ Res Lett 5:24003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Swanston C, Janowiak M (2012) Forest adaptation resources: climate change tools and approaches for land managers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown SquareGoogle Scholar
  64. Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR, Swetnam TW (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase in western U.S. forest wildfire activity. Science 313:940. doi:10.1126/science.1128834 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yohe G, Leichenko R (2010) Adopting a risk-based approach. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1196:29–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Forest SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research StationSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Northwest Climate Hub, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research StationCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations