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Climate Change


The number of global initiatives for forest restoration, and the scope of these initiatives, continues to increase. An important tool for meeting objectives of these global initiatives is reforestation, achieved by natural processes or by tree planting. Worldwide, organizations are challenged to most efficiently and effectively direct resources to the most critical reforestation needs.
Forests are an incredibly important resource across the globe, yet they are threatened by climate change through stressors such as drought, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. Trailing edge forests - those areas expected to experience range contractions under a changing climate - are of particular concern because of the potential for abrupt conversion to non-forest.
The Science Framework is intended to link the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy with long-term strategic conservation and restoration actions in the sagebrush biome. The focus is on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems and sagebrush dependent species with an emphasis on Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).
Many potential geographic information system (GIS) applications remain unrealized or not yet extended to diverse spatial and temporal scales due to the relative recency of conversion from paper maps to digitized images.
Climate change is increasing fire activity in the western United States, which has the potential to accelerate climate-induced shifts in vegetation communities. Wildfire can catalyze vegetation change by killing adult trees that could otherwise persist in climate conditions no longer suitable for seedling establishment and survival.
The breakdown of host resistance to plant pathogens is of critical concern in agriculture, forestry, and the management of natural systems. Evolution of the fungal poplar rust pathogen Melampsora larici-populina has been shown to have been dramatically influenced by the deployment of resistance genes in commercial poplar (Populus spp.) plantations, with pathogen populations inundated by virulent genotypes (Xhaard et al. 2011).
Adapting to climate change, or adjusting to current or future climate and its effects (Noble et al. 2014), is critical to minimizing the risks associated with climate change impacts.
Provenance tests of 49 populations of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) revealed moderate genetic differentiation for growth potential (growth under conditions approaching physiological optimum). Moderate genetic differentiation was also detected for survival after more than 10 years under warm-dry climate in the field but not for unconditional expected height, which was considered the best available predictor of fitness.
Wildland fire managers in the United States currently utilize the gridded forecasts from the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) to make fire behavior predictions across complex landscapes during large wildfires. However, little is known about the NDFDs performance in remote locations with complex topography for weather variables important for fire behavior prediction, including air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed.
Climate change is expected to result in substantial ecological impacts across the globe. These impacts are uncertain but there is strong consensus that they will almost certainly affect fire regimes and vegetation.