The Vulnerability of Trees and Biomes of the Rocky Mountains to Climate Change

by Kyle Jensen

As the reality of climate change becomes ever clearer, federal land managers are becoming increasingly concerned with how climate change will affect natural resources and ecosystem services within their jurisdictions. The western US in particular is expected to warm significantly, which will have widespread effects on the distribution of forests and various species; understanding these effects is essential to developing strategies to cope with future changes. Hansen and Phillips (2015) conducted a meta-analysis of five studies assessing the vulnerability of tree species and biome types to projected future climate changes, the results of which are expected to be used by the National Park Service as it initiates climate vulnerability assessments. The studies utilized bioclimate envelope modeling, which showed a severe loss of territory for subalpine systems, especially for the white bark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). Continue reading

Climate change and agricultural water resources: A vulnerability assessment of the Black Sea catchment

by Rebecca Herrera

Agriculture in the Black Sea catchment is a large share of the region’s economy and will experience a number of changes thanks to climate change. Bär et al. designed a new climate and agriculture assessment combining two popular techniques in order to better assess the vulnerability of the Black Sea catchment’s agriculture. By combining the DPSIR and the vulnerability concept, Bär et al. were able to see that rising temperatures, decreased precipitation, or both created different outcomes across the catchment. While plant growth conditions mostly improve across the Black Sea catchment with rising temperatures, decreased precipitation and decreased irrigation potential caused deteriorating agricultural conditions. Continue reading