Bridging Boundaries: Climate Change Adaptation Workshop for Resource Managers was held on October 4, 2012 at the YMCA in Estes Park, CO and was co-organized by the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and scientists at Colorado State University and the University of Arizona. Over 40 managers, scientists, academics, and natural resource professionals representing many land management agencies (USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Forest Service, etc.) and other organizations participated in the workshop.
Boundaries have many different definitions – disciplinary, institutional, 'line in the sand', or mental walls. Boundaries can be barriers or opportunities. This workshop focused on opportunities to bridge boundaries and to enhance climate change adaptation in natural resource management. Real world examples were shared where groups have worked together to bring understanding and action to the ground to adapt resource management to climate change.
Recognize boundaries and opportunities to bridge barriers that can impact adaptation efforts.
Create opportunities for internalizing adaptation into natural resource management.
Identify potential institutional arrangements that can accelerate adaptation.
Koren Nydick described a collaborative planning experiment called “alternative fire management futures” - a partnership of the National Forest Service, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and University of California-Davis and Berkeley. The partnership is using ecological and socio-political scenario planning, interactive planning exercises, and modelling output to explore potential impacts of climate change on fire regimes in Sierra Nevada ecosystems. The team is also creating a treatment prioritization tool that incorporates climate change to guide location of prescribed burns and mechanical thinning.
Virginia Kelly provided an overview of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee and their efforts to promote climate-informed management. Specific projects of the Coordinating Committee include emission reduction plans, employee education, climate change scenario planning, and vulnerability assessments.
Betsy Neely described the Southwest Climate Change Initiative - a partnership among the Nature Conservancy, Climate Assessment for the Southwest (University of Arizona), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Western Water Assessment (University of Colorado), and Wildlife Conservation Society. The partnership is using the Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework on several pilot landscapes, including the Gunnison Basin. Goals of the Gunnison Climate Working Group are to (1) understand impacts, (2) identify strategies, and (3) promote coordinated action. The project has resulted in an ecological vulnerability assessment and social resilience and vulnerability assessment.
Dennis Ojima outlined the rationale for developing regional responses to climate change; described the concepts of resilience, adaptive management, and adaptive capacity; and discussed ways to co-develop research activities in support of management and societal issues. He provided two examples of co-developing knowledge around climate adaptation: (1) managing beetle-affected forested watersheds to maintain water quality and to enhance livelihoods of surrounding communities, and (2) managing elk in northern Colorado ecosystems across jurisdictional boundaries.
Louise Misztal described the Sky Island Alliance and the goals for climate change adaptation in the Sky Island region. She also outlined the context, development, and implementation of the Spring Assessment Project, which included two climate change adaptation workshops to assess vulnerabilities and develop adaptation strategies.