Ecological Drought in California Forests: Linking Climate Science and Resource Management

Monday, August 11, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
307, Sacramento Convention Center
Mark W. Schwartz, University of California, Davis
Stephen T. Jackson, U.S. Geological Survey; and Debra Schlafmann, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Stephen T. Jackson, U.S. Geological Survey
Ecological drought has long been a critical concern in the west. Climate projections for the next century uniformly indicate increasing growing-season water stress throughout California. California, like the rest of the arid and semi-arid west, has a long history of drought cycles with large impacts on forest disturbance, recruitment, and structure. The region is in transition to a new normal under climate change. From the Sierras to the sea, California forests are under the triple stresses of increased fire hazard through heavy fuel loads, increasing ignition pressure because of proximity to people, and increasing drought stress. Resource managers are faced with the difficult task of designing climate-smart adaptation strategies for forest management. Yet, there remains, and will remain, much uncertainty in climate model projections, limited capacity to downscale these models to capture topographic complexities of air drainages and local precipitation patterns, uncertain ecological responses to droughts, and complex ecological responses to multiple and often interacting drivers of forest change. The proposed session will progress systematically through a suite of topics. First, a climatologist with long experience in working with resource managers will discuss the state of the art and uncertainties in climate downscaling. This will be followed by a series of presentations by forest ecologists on various aspects and consequences of ecological drought. The session will end with perspectives on resource management, focusing on how researchers and managers can work closely together to develop information relevant to climate adaptation in forested lands.
1:30 PM
 Downscaling extremes: Abilities of regional downscaling in studying ecological drought
Daniel Cayan, University of California San Diego and U.S. Geological Survey; David Pierce, University of California San Diego; Michael Dettinger, U. S. Geological Survey and University of California San DIego; Alexander Gershunov, University of California San Diego; Lorraine Flint, USGS California Water Science Center; Alan Flint, USGS California Water Science Center; Edwin Maurer, Santa Clara University; Alex Hall, University of California Los Angeles; Daniel Walton, University of California Los Angeles; Erica Fleishman, University of California, Davis; Mark W. Schwartz, University of California, Davis
1:50 PM
 Forest structure and species traits mediate projections of climate-driven recruitment declines in western US tree species
Solomon Dobrowski, University of Montana; Alan Swanson, University of Montana; John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho; Zachary Holden, U.S. Forest Service; Daniel G. Gavin, University of Oregon
2:10 PM
 Translating physiological drought into tree stress and forest response
Christina L. Tague, University of Calfornia, Santa Barbara; Aubrey L. Dugger, University of California at Santa Barbara; Elizabeth S. Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara
2:30 PM
 Are recent increases in forest mortality a symptom of drought?
Phillip J. Van Mantgem, United States Geological Survey
2:50 PM
 Defining the physiological drought stress threshold for susceptibility to bark beetle: a case study for Jeffrey pine in the Sierra Nevada, California
Nancy E. Grulke, USDA Forest Service; Jason Maxfield, Portland State University; Andrew Graves, USDA Forest Service; Steven J. Seybold, USDA Forest Service
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
 What do changing climate suggest about future fire frequency in California
Mark W. Schwartz, University of California, Davis; James H. Thorne, University of California, Davis; Max A. Moritz, University of California, Berkeley; Andrew Holguin, University of California, Davis
3:40 PM
 Coupling stress and fire to predict forest change
Dominique M. Bachelet, Conservation Biology Institute and Oregon State University; Ken Ferschweiler, Conservation Biology Institute; Tim Sheehan, Conservation Biology Institute; John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho; Ben Sleeter, USGS; Wendy L. Peterman, Oregon State University
4:00 PM
 Translating ecological drought into resource management: giant sequoias
Koren Nydick, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, National Park Service; Mark W. Schwartz, University of California, Davis; Qinghua Guo, University of California Merced; Nathan L. Stephenson, United States Geological Survey; Anthony A. Ambrose, University of California; Glenn Lunak, Sierra Pacific Industries
4:20 PM
 History and vulnerability of meadows in the Sierra Nevada
Matthew L. Brooks, U.S. Geological Survey; J.R. Matchett, USGS Western Ecological Research Center; Eric L. Berlow, University of California at Merced; Sylvia Haultain, National Park Service, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Steven M. Ostoja, United States Geological Survey; Peggy Moore, USGS Western Ecological Research Center; Erik Frenzel, National Park Service, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
4:40 PM
 Implementing a decision support system for the Sierra Nevada to monitor, report, and forecast ecological conditions
Andrew Nguyen, NASA DEVELOP National Program; Chase Mueller, NASA DEVELOP National Program; Esther Essoudry, NASA DEVELOP National Program; Amber Brooks, NASA DEVELOP National Program; Emily Kislik, NASA DEVELOP National Program; Cindy Schmidt, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute; Carlos Ramirez, USDA Forest Service