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Individual Highlight

Group Addresses Climate Change Impacts

The Interior West Climate Change Working Group addresses the impacts of changing climates throughout the Interior West and Great Plains. Forest ServiceSnapshot : New Forest Service group addresses the impacts of changing climates across the diverse landscapes of the Intermountain West and Great Plains.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Engert, Jan M.  
Research Location : Northern Rockies
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 394


In order to proactively understand and address the impacts of changing climates across organizational boundaries and the diverse landscapes of the Intermountain West and Great Plains, Forest Service Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4 and the Rocky Mountain Research Station collaboratively established a science-management partnership , referred to as the Interior West Climate Change Working Group.

Climatic changes and shifting demographics influence the landscape and the social and economic systems of the Intermountain West. Effects of changing climates are already evident, as seen in declining snowpacks, changes in runoff timing and intensity, increasing fire frequency and severity, increasing drought frequency and severity and rising temperatures.

The Working Group has identified common needs to: a. analyze the vulnerabilities of different ecosystems and social-economic issues in the area, b. develop regional assessments for estimating carbon, andc. provide training for employees on the latest climate change findings.

The Working Group meets regularly through virtual meetings. Collaboration and coordination has included Climate Change Science Days in the Northern Rockies; broader collaborative efforts specifically addressing water & climate change in the southern & central Rockies; a suite of National Forest case studies that include watershed assessments, species' vulnerability, and vegetation simulations; broad cooperation with interagency partners on landscape studies; and emerging plans for addressing carbon inventories at a regional scale. For additional information, visit

Program Areas