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Adaptation Working Group Webinar

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm

Title: Land and wildlife managers’ use of climate information in the Prairie Potholes Region: Needs, barriers, and opportunities

Heather Yocum and Andrea Ray, NOAA

Abstract:  Land and wildlife managers in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central US need climate information to support decision-making; however, the specific climate information needs for land managers in the PPR are still relatively unexplored. This paper identifies and characterizes regionally-specific climate information needs, entry points, and barriers to the use of climate information, situating them in the ecological and social decision-making context in the PPR. We argue that understanding this decision-making context adds nuance to the general types of needs and barriers that have been described in the literature and thus provides a path to meeting the articulated needs for usable information. Using interviews, document analysis, and participant observation, we found that climate information is underutilized in natural resource management decision-making in the PPR. Managers need additional guidance in selecting and using climate information as well as clarification about the differences between different climate projections and the CMIP3 and CMIP5 generations of climate projections. Managers also want additional observation-based data to study weather-climate-ecological relationships. Entry points for information include introducing climate information into recurring management decisions, as well as making climate information available through trusted information networks in the PPR. Remaining barriers to information use include the production and communication of science information, as well as social and institutional barriers. Describing these regionally-specific needs, entry points, and barriers points to specific ways in which to target future research efforts to develop usable climate information, which in turn can reduce institutional costs for land and wildlife managers. 

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