Event Title

Whitebark pine: To manage or not to manage in the face of climate change

Presenter Information

Liz Davy

Location

USU Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

www.restoringthewest.org

Abstract

There is a great deal of controversy in the management world on the fate of whitebark pine under future climate change. Many feel that projected warmer conditions will reduce whitebark pine habitat. For this reason, some land managers and agency leadership question the validity of whitebark pine restoration activities and funding. Others feel that climate-mediated changes in the disturbance regimes will serve to keep whitebark pine within its current range, albeit at lower levels (Loehman et al. 2011). It is all much more complex due to the high uncertainty in climate change predictions, species responses, and disturbance interactions. Therefore, we suggest that the question of whether to restore ecosystems is not dependent on future climates since we really can’t predict them and how landscapes will respond to them, but rather, it is dependent on whether society can afford the loss of this foundation and keystone ecosystem. Climate, like insects, disease, and land management, is a factor that must be mitigated in restoration attempts and not a reason for curtailing restoration actions.

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Oct 16th, 2:00 PM Oct 16th, 2:30 PM

Whitebark pine: To manage or not to manage in the face of climate change

USU Eccles Conference Center

There is a great deal of controversy in the management world on the fate of whitebark pine under future climate change. Many feel that projected warmer conditions will reduce whitebark pine habitat. For this reason, some land managers and agency leadership question the validity of whitebark pine restoration activities and funding. Others feel that climate-mediated changes in the disturbance regimes will serve to keep whitebark pine within its current range, albeit at lower levels (Loehman et al. 2011). It is all much more complex due to the high uncertainty in climate change predictions, species responses, and disturbance interactions. Therefore, we suggest that the question of whether to restore ecosystems is not dependent on future climates since we really can’t predict them and how landscapes will respond to them, but rather, it is dependent on whether society can afford the loss of this foundation and keystone ecosystem. Climate, like insects, disease, and land management, is a factor that must be mitigated in restoration attempts and not a reason for curtailing restoration actions.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2013/October16/4