Land Management Through a Climate Adaptation Lens

I am a Climate Change Specialist with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS). My work focuses on understanding how we can best manage terrestrial ecosystems while explicitly acknowledging climate change. Climate change is the ultimate ‘known unknown’ in land management today: we know climate change is increasingly impacting ecosystems across the globe yet the nature of climate change impacts on a specific land parcel at a given time is hard to predict. Climate-informed land management thus requires consideration of an ecosystem’s climate vulnerability alongside clear management goals of a defined spatial and temporal scope.

 

Increasingly, land managers are wrestling with how to manage for multiple – and potentially conflicting – management goals, such as protecting and increasing biodiversity while also increasing carbon storage and sequestration. For example, woody encroachment threatens rare temperate oak savanna ecosystems but can increase short-term carbon sequestration rates in the Upper Midwest. I am working to develop a framework for understanding site-specific trade-offs and co-benefits of managing for plant biodiversity and carbon in non-forested ecosystems. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, I am using the Newell and Ann Meyer Preserve in southeastern Wisconsin as a case-study for this work.

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Nature Conservancy staff assessing an oak savanna patch at the Newell and Ann Meyer Preserve (Wisconsin) that is currently threatened by woody  encroachment.