Understanding and Managing Ecological Resilience to Natural Disasters in a Changing Environment

Thursday, August 14, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Gardenia, Sheraton Hotel
Valerie T. Eviner, University of California Davis
Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Lori Hidinger, Arizona State University; and Daniel R. Scholes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Valerie T. Eviner, University of California Davis
Floods, droughts, wildfires, extreme temperatures, and storms are important disturbances that shape ecosystems. These extreme events are increasingly costly to society, as human populations and infrastructure expand in areas vulnerable to natural disasters. There is an urgent need to: (1) understand the role of ecosystem processes in modulating the frequency, intensity, and impact of disturbances; (2) understand the processes that enhance recovery and restoration of social-ecological systems after extreme events; (3) understand how environmental changes are altering disturbance regimes and ecosystem resilience to disturbances; and (4) integrate this ecological knowledge with management and policy. The goal of this symposium is to synthesize these four points across disturbance types and ecosystems, and develop a framework that can guide management for resilience in the face of natural disasters. Talks will focus on different disturbance types (coastal storms, drought, wildfires, heat waves) in distinct ecosystems (coastal, grassland, forested, urban), as well as links between science and policy. The final talk will synthesize these other talks into an overall resilience framework. We will end the symposium with twenty minutes of discussion and synthesis. This symposium has been developed by ESA’s Science Committee, as part of its initiative to synthesize our ecological understanding of natural disaster prevention, mitigation, and recovery. This synthesis will be critical for shaping management and policy, including focused efforts to restore ecosystem components that mitigate the impacts of disturbances, as well as decisions on whether or how to rebuild infrastructure in vulnerable areas.
1:30 PM
 Controls and consequences of forest wildfires under a changing climate
Anthony Westerling, University of California, Merced
2:00 PM
 Coastal storms: Minimizing impacts, enhancing resilience, and improving restoration success
Donald F. Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
2:30 PM
 Resistance and resilience of a grassland ecosystem to varying drought intensities and durations
David L. Hoover, U.S. Geological Survey; Brendan M. Rogers, University of California, Irvine; Melinda D. Smith, Colorado State University; Alan K. Knapp, Colorado State University
3:00 PM
3:10 PM
 Heat wave vulnerability and mitigation in urban ecosystems
G. Darrel Jenerette, University of California
3:40 PM
 Connecting science and policy to improve resilience to natural disasters
Elizabeth McNie, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
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