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Adaptation Working Group Webinar

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

"USDA Forest Service Perspectives on Forest Management in a Changing Climate"

Jamie Laatsch, Utah State University and Zhao Ma, Purdue University


The USDA Forest Service is facing significant challenges due to climate change.  Understanding employee perspectives on climate change will provide invaluable insight into these challenges.  By analyzing data from key informant interviews and an internet survey in the Intermountain West, this research examines Forest Service employees’ perceptions of climate change and related forest management issues (e.g., bark beetle outbreaks, fire management, aspen dieback) at multiple levels, from district management to national policy making.  Although the agency recognizes the need for adaptation, the ability to implement relevant plans has been limited due to a variety of constraints including lack of funding and personnel, lack of direction for on-the-ground management, and lack of relevant climate-related information/data.  However, this does not mean that forest managers have not tried to apply what they know about climate change into their current practices, like with the development of the National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change and Scorecard, which helps managers incorporate adaptation to climate change into existing management plans.  To move forward, more efficient and effective communication between the various levels of agency management is needed with respect to the various effects of climate change on the forest ecosystem and potential management options. 


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