Thursday, February 04, 2016

U.S. Forest Service releases findings on the effects of drought for forests and rangelands

The U.S. Forest Service Feb. 1 released a new report, Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis, that provides a national assessment of peer-reviewed scientific research on the impacts of drought on U.S. forests and rangelands. This report will help the Forest Service better manage forests and grasslands impacted by climate change. “Our forests and rangelands are national treasures, and because they are threatened, we are threatened,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This report confirms what we are seeing, that every region of the country is impacted by the direct and indirect effects of drought conditions and volatile weather patterns. Sixty million Americans rely on drinking water that originates on our 193 million acres of national forest and grasslands. They support 200,000 jobs and contribute over $13 billion to local economies every year,” said Vilsack. The report establishes a comprehensive baseline of available data that land managers can use to test how well their efforts to improve drought resilience and adaptation practices are working nationwide. The assessment, a broad review of existing drought research, provides input to the reauthorized National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), established by Congress in 2006, and the National Climate Assessment (NCA), produced every four years to project major trends and evaluate the effects of global climate change on forests, agriculture, rangelands, land and water resources, human health and welfare, and biological diversity. Together these serve as key, science-based, resources for anyone working to maintain or improve public and private lands in the face of a changing environment. The implications of the findings of this report are likely to have far-reaching effects on the environment for the foreseeable future. As climate change drives temperatures increases and precipitation patterns change, drought–and associated disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfires-will only get worse across many areas of the United States...more

You have to wonder if the Forest Service, in the last several years, has released a study or report, of any kind or topic, that doesn't contain the phrase "climate change." 

1 comment:

Don L. said...

about 3-4 years ago the FS was directed to include "climate change" in all NEPA documents. The agency took a stand that the administration's stand was the official FS stand and they would not recognize any science to the contrary. Thus we begin to see reports of potential lower forage production which is not borne out by on the ground studies. The FS has reduced the number of studies it does here in the SW.