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Title: A community based approach to improving resilience of forests and water resources: A local and regional climate adaptation methodology

Author: Thaler, Toby; Griffith, Gwen; Gilliam, Nancy;

Date: 2014

Source: In: Sample, V. Alaric; Bixler, R. Patrick, eds. Forest conservation and management in the Anthropocene: Conference proceedings. Proceedings. RMRS-P-71. Fort Collins, CO: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 361-378.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Forest-based ecosystem services are at risk from human-caused stressors, including climate change. Improving governance and management of forests to reduce impacts and increase community resilience to all stressors is the objective of forest-related climate change adaptation. The Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP) has applied one method designed to meet this objective since 2010. MFPP’s program, “Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies,” delivers a climate change adaptation process based on the 2007 publication by the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, “Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments.” MFPP enrolls up to six communities each year in Climate Solutions University, and guides them through a four step process: engagement of a community based climate planning team; assessment of resource and economic risks and adaptation opportunities; prioritization and development of an adaptation plan; and implementation with a range of governance, education, and land use management tools. This paper discusses some of the findings and lessons learned, that include: (1) People are the single most crucial success factor, both individual leaders with dedication to plan implementation and a supportive network of people in the community representing a range of interests. Outsiders cannot make it happen. (2) Using local values as the framework for communicating and avoiding fear of catastrophic change and scientific jargon is the best way to build public trust. (3) Even a modest adaptation plan can have a positive impact with targeted actions. (4) Plan stewards can be of any type (local government, resource agency, non-governmental organization (NGO)) if diverse and affected stakeholders are engaged, but local governments or agencies are more likely to have sufficient resources and established networks, as well as a background in policy. Ongoing commitment and allocation of positions (FTEs) are the most important “resources” needed for successful adaptation. Increased budget support for personnel dedicated to climate adaptation in local communities by federal and state governments would help.

Keywords: forest conservation, management, Anthropocene, climate change

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Thaler, Toby; Griffith, Gwen; Gilliam, Nancy. 2014. A community based approach to improving resilience of forests and water resources: A local and regional climate adaptation methodology. In: Sample, V. Alaric; Bixler, R. Patrick, eds. Forest conservation and management in the Anthropocene: Conference proceedings. Proceedings. RMRS-P-71. Fort Collins, CO: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 361-378.

 


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