Terrestrial Ecosystem Adaptation

Terrestrial Ecosystem Adaptation provides an evaluation of adaptation issues for natural ecosystems with a focus on the climate impacts of vegetation response, phenology, wildfire and other system-wide disturbances. It also describes adaptation scenarios of several species affected by climate change, including the snowshoe hare, wolverine, waterfowl, bighorn sheep, and amphibians. The report is limited to natural ecosystems, or those that have not been planted, irrigated, or fertilized - agricultural and grazing lands are excluded.

A summary of current temporal and spatial projections for climate change is provided, followed by how these relate to ecosystem impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptive capacity. Adaptation to climate change in wild populations is discussed in detail in terms of adaptation in place via plasticity and/or evolution, and adaptation via movement and range shifts.   

Also, potential adaptive management options and alternatives are discussed for water management, vegetative management, and managing for resilience (e.g. assisted colonization). The authors note that these Adaptation Options "may be controversial, but we offer them to begin a candid discussion of all available options. We are not offering these ideas as recommendations, but rather as talking points."




Publication Date: June 2009

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Steven W. Running
  • L. Scott Mills

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Climate science


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