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Working Lands for Wildlife National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations

Working Lands for Wildlife National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations

In May 2016, 26 private landowners from across the country met in Denver, Colorado to talk with NRCS staff about what is working in the Working Lands for Wildlife partnership and what opportunities exist for improvement. Jointly coordinated by Partners for Conservation and NRCS, and including funding support from the Intermountain West Joint Venture, the 2-day meeting provided a forum to share stories of success and challenges in order to maximize outcomes with future opportunities.

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2016 Southeastern Forest Private Lands Partnership Forum

2016 Southeastern Forest Private Lands Partnership Forum

March 1, Pensacola, Florida Session Recommendations

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LCC Network White Paper

Prepared by GW and EH (reviewed by many in the LCC community) for the national landscape practitioners meeting in Nov 2017 at NCTC.

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Achievable future conditions as a framework for guiding forest conservation and management

We contend that traditional approaches to forest conservation and management will be inadequate given the predicted scale of social-economic and biophysical changes in the 21st century. New approaches, focused on anticipating and guiding ecological responses to change, are urgently needed to ensure the full value of forest ecosystem services for future generations. These approaches acknowledge that change is inevitable and sometimes irreversible, and that maintenance of ecosystem services depends in part on novel ecosystems, i.e., species combinations with no analog in the past. We propose that ecological responses be evaluated at landscape or regional scales using risk-based approaches to incorporate uncer- tainty into forest management efforts with subsequent goals for management based on Achievable Future Conditions (AFC). AFCs defined at a landscape or regional scale incorporate advancements in ecosystem management, including adaptive approaches, resilience, and desired future conditions into the context of the Anthropocene. Inherently forward looking, ACFs encompass mitigation and adaptation options to respond to scenarios of projected future biophysical, social-economic, and policy conditions which distribute risk and provide diversity of response to uncertainty. The engagement of science- management-public partnerships is critical to our risk-based approach for defining AFCs. Robust moni- toring programs of forest management actions are also crucial to address uncertainty regarding species distributions and ecosystem processes. Development of regional indicators of response will also be essen- tial to evaluate outcomes of management strategies. Our conceptual framework provides a starting point to move toward AFCs for forest management, illustrated with examples from fire and water management in the Southeastern United States. Our model is adaptive, incorporating evaluation and modification as new information becomes available and as social–ecological dynamics change. It expands on established principles of ecosystem management and best management practices (BMPs) and incorporates scenarios of future conditions. It also highlights the potential limits of existing institutional structures for defining AFCs and achieving them. In an uncertain future of rapid change and abrupt, unforeseen transitions, adjustments in management approaches will be necessary and some actions will fail. However, it is increasingly evident that the greatest risk is posed by continuing to implement strategies inconsistent with current understanding of our novel future.

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Future Energy Development across the Appalachian Region

Overview of the Appalachian LCC funded project that uses models that combine data on energy development trends and identifies where these may intersect with important natural resource and ecosystem services to give a more comprehensive picture of what potential energy development could look like in the Appalachians.

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Barking up the Wrong Tree? Forest Sustainability in the wake of Emerging Bioenergy Policies

The spotted owl controversy revealed that federal forest management policies alone could not guarantee functioning forest ecosystems. At the same time as the owl’s listing, agreements made at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit highlighted the mounting pressures on natural systems, thus unofficially marking the advent of sustainable forestry management (SFM).2 While threats to forest ecosystems from traditional logging practices certainly remain,3 developed and developing countries have shifted generally toward more sustainable forest management, at least on paper, including codifying various sustainability indicators in public laws.4 Nevertheless, dark policy clouds are gathering on the forest management horizon. Scientific consensus has grown in recent years around a new and arguably more onerous threat to all of the world’s ecosystems—climate change. Governments’ responses have focused on bioenergy policies aimed at curtailing anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and mandatesfor renewables in energy supplies now abound worldwide. [Vol. 37:000

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Biodiversity management in the face of climate change: A review of 22 years of recommendations

Climate change creates new challenges for biodiversity conservation. Species ranges and ecological dynamics are already responding to recent climate shifts, and current reserves will not continue to support all species they were designed to protect. These problems are exacerbated by other global changes. Scholarly articles recommending measures to adapt conservation to climate change have proliferated over the last 22 years. We systematically reviewed this literature to explore what potential solutions it has identified and what consensus and direction it provides to cope with climate change. Several consistent recommendations emerge for action at diverse spatial scales, requiring leadership by diverse actors. Broadly, adaptation requires improved regional institutional coordination, expanded spatial and temporal perspective, incorporation of climate change scenarios into all planning and action, and greater effort to address multiple threats and global change drivers simultaneously in ways that are responsive to and inclusive of human communities. However, in the case of many recommendations the how, by whom, and under what conditions they can be implemented is not specified. We synthesize recommendations with respect to three likely conservation pathways: regional planning; site-scale management; and modification of existing conservation plans. We identify major gaps, including the need for (1) more specific, operational examples of adaptation principles that are consistent with unavoidable uncertainty about the future; (2) a practical adaptation planning process to guide selection and integration of recommendations into existing policies and programs; and (3) greater integration of social science into an endeavor that, although dominated by ecology, increasingly recommends extension beyond reserves and into human-occupied landscapes.

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Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: General Technical Report PNW-GTR-870 December 2012

This report is a scientific assessment of the current condition and likely future condition of forest resources in the United States relative to climatic variability and change. It serves as the U.S. Forest Service forest sector technical report for the National Climate Assessment and includes descriptions of key regional issues and examples of a risk-based framework for assessing climate-change effects. By the end of the 21st century, forest ecosystems in the United States will differ from those of today as a result of changing climate. Although increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, higher atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), and higher nitrogen (N) deposition may change ecosystem structure and function, the most rapidly visible and most significant short-term effects on forest ecosystems will be caused by altered disturbance regimes. For example, wildfires, insect infestations, pulses of erosion and flooding, and drought-induced tree mortality are all expected to increase during the 21st century. These direct and indirect climate-change effects are likely to cause losses of ecosystem services in some areas, but may also improve and expand ecosystem services in others. Some areas may be particularly vulnerable because current infrastructure and resource production are based on past climate and steady-state conditions. The ability of communities with resource-based economies to adapt to climate change is linked to their direct exposure to these changes, as well as to the social and institutional structures present in each environment. Human communities that have diverse economies and are resilient to change today will also be prepared for future climatic stresses.

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Social Science at the Wildland-Urban Interface: a Compendium of Research Results to Create Fire-Adapted Communities

Over the past decade, a growing body of research has been conducted on the human dimensions of wildland fire. Building on a relatively small number of foundational studies, this research now addresses a wide range of topics including mitigation activities on private lands, fuels reduction treatments on public land, community impacts and resident behaviors during fire, acceptance of approaches to postfire restoration and recovery, and fire management policy and decisionmaking. As this research has matured, there has been a recognition of the need to examine the full body of resulting literature to synthesize disparate findings and identify lessons learned across studies. These lessons can then be applied to fostering fire-adapted communities—those communities that understand their risk and have taken action to mitigate their vulnerability and increase resilience. This compendium of social science research findings related to fire-adapted communities has resulted from a project funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP). As part of these efforts, the research team reviewed more than 200 publications of research results. Then the team convened a workshop with 16 scientists with extensive experience in the human dimensions of fire management issues. Workshop participants evaluated collective findings and discussed their application to support fire management activities. In addition to this compendium, project outputs were: 1) a synthesis of published literature specific to eight management questions identified by the JFSP, 2) a list of future research needs, 3) a bibliography, including abstracts, with accompanying subject area guide, and 4) a video featuring the experiences of agency personnel and community leaders in successful collaborative fire planning settings. This video is accompanied by a field guide for use by agency managers to more effectively participate in building fire-safe communities. In the sections that follow, we describe our approach to completing this review and present key findings from the literature. Our discussion is organized around five major topical areas: 1) homeowner/community mitigation, 2) public acceptance of fuels treatments on public lands, 3) homeowner actions during a fire, 4) postfire response and recovery, and 5) wildland fire policy and planning. The compendium concludes with a presentation of management implications and a bibliography of all material in this review.

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Fish and Wildlife News SHC Issue

Fish and Wildlife News SHC Issue

In this special edition of Fish & Wildlife News, read how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) into practice. To ensure a bright future for fish and wildlife in the face of such widespread threats as drought, climate change and large-scale habitat fragmentation, the Service first endorsed SHC as the Service’s conservation approach in 2006. SHC relies on an adaptive management framework to inform decisions about where and how to deliver conservation efficiently with partners to achieve predicted biological outcomes.

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Fish and Wildlife News SHC Issue

Fish and Wildlife News SHC Issue

In this special edition of Fish & Wildlife News, read how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) into practice. To ensure a bright future for fish and wildlife in the face of such widespread threats as drought, climate change and large-scale habitat fragmentation, the Service first endorsed SHC as the Service’s conservation approach in 2006. SHC relies on an adaptive management framework to inform decisions about where and how to deliver conservation efficiently with partners to achieve predicted biological outcomes.

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LCCs and Climate Science Centers (CSCs)

Working together to provide scientific information, tools, and support for decisions to conserve large connected areas that sustain natural and cultural resources and people in a rapidly changing world.

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New York and Long Island Plan

The New York and Long Island Field Offices have developed a strategic plan for our future work. This plan provides the direction of our field offices’ work and allows us to clearly articulate to others what our goals are and why. Our plan was developed using the Strategic Habitat Conservation approach (SHC). The SHC approach is an adaptive management methodology with 4 identifiable phases – biological planning, conservation design, conservation implementation, and monitoring. You will see that our strategic plan reflects this process in its construction.

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West Virginia Ecological Services Plan

With  the  mission  of  the  U.  S.  Fish  and  Wildlife  Service  in  mind  the  Service’s  West  Virginia   Field Office (WVFO), Elkins, West Virginia, has developed a multi-year comprehensive strategic priority plan for West Virginia to be  utilized  in  conjunction  with  the  Service’s   Washington  and  Region  5  offices’  guiding  parameters  articulated  under  the  Vision,  Conservation   Principles and Priorities below. The WVFO has incorporated these parameters into our strategic priority plan, weaving our activities not only into these national and regional parameters but also into the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) framework.

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2011 State of the Birds Report

2011 State of the Birds Report. Note importance of Grassland Bird Conservation.

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2011 Workshop Report - Conservation Priorities Science Needs

As prepared under the DJ Chase contract by Dr. Gwen White (182 pgs). This is the FULL Report that includes details on how the Workshop was organized, the final Science Needs Portolio (draft - compliation) generated by the various Thematic Work Groups, and the Workshop evaluations and recommendations.

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5-Year Work Plan Full Report

5-Year Work Plan Full Report

This report represents the result of a 3-day Workshop of the Cooperative Steering Committee and Key Partners to produce a collaborative, integrated, and science-driven 5-Year Work Plan. It will serve as our guide in moving the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (AppLCC) forward as an organization and decision-making body charged to advance the efforts of the broader conservation community in addressing large-scale environmental and climate impacts. Given its charge of managing LCC-allocated funds and integrating its Members' collective resources toward conservation actions, the Work Plan helps direct the energies and focus of the AppLCC toward achievement of the Goals and Objectives identified by the assembled conservation leaders.

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Work Plan Section C

This section provides staff recommendations on tasks requiring more staffing or funding support, or in some cases modification, to achieve.

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Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture

Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture

The final 2012 Communication Strategy for the Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture.

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National Report on Sustainable Forests

National Report on Sustainable Forests

This is a report on the state of forests in the United States of America and the indicators of national progress toward the goal of sustainable forest management. The report is designed to provide information that will improve public dialog and decision making on desired outcomes and needed actions to move the Nation toward this goal. The 64 indicators of forest sustainability used in the report reflect many of the environmental, social, and economic concerns of the American public regarding forests, and they help us establish a quantitative baseline for measuring progress toward sustainability. While the report presents data primarily at a national or regional level, it also provides a valuable context for related efforts to ensure sustainability at other geographic and political scales. Action at all levels is vital to achieving sustainable forest management in the United States. The current edition includes 130 pages of detailed information organized by indicator, as well as summary analyses and policy recommendations. Over 30 Forest Service scientists, senior staff and outside collaborators contributed to this edition of the report. A previous edition of the report was released in 2003, and an update is anticipated for 2015. Questions or comments about the report or the project as a whole are greatly appreciated and can be directed to Guy Robertson (see box on left).

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