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Meeting Stakeholder Needs: Question 4

Human Dimensions research: Can the NC CSC provide research and guidance on the intersection of coupled human-ecological systems and climate-related science?

This issue is primarily address through the Adaptation and Mitigation Foundational Science Area.

The NC CSC’s Adaptation and Mitigation Foundational Science area focuses on the process of connecting to decision makers, a principle that is integral to the Center’s mission. This connection is not always obvious or automatic; it requires a strong research program, a healthy infrastructure for the transition of science into decision-making, a strong interface and engagement with the user community, and continuous evaluation of the process. Having these key components and connections in place will allow the NC CSC to: 1) provide detailed information on management options and institutional resources, and how these are utilized under various decision-making situations, and 2) integrate information derived from research activities to evaluate the options available for addressing potential vulnerabilities and impacts. This information will provide a framework to build social and ecological capacity to cope or respond to climate stressors.

One of the NC CSC’s funded projects, “Natural Resource Management Decision-Making under Climate Uncertainty: Building Social-Ecological Resilience in Southwestern Colorado,” focuses specifically on the intersection of coupled human-ecological systems and climate-related science. This project, which is based in southwestern Colorado, investigates the risk and impacts that climate-related changes (such as increased fire intensity, more extreme storms, and spread of invasive species) present for livelihoods, ecosystems and species. The project team is creating opportunities for scientists, land managers, and affected residents to learn from each other and identify individual and collective adaptation strategies and the processes of their creation. These can then be used to assist communities elsewhere to identify goals and actions that conserve key species, ecosystems, and resources, and address the needs of local communities and natural resource managers in the face of a changing climate.

The adaptation team conducts group webinars on a monthly to quarterly basis. Those interested in engaging with this group should contact the team co-lead Shannon McNeeley (

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