The Forest Service's Climate Change Resource Center has released a new interactive online education module. “Climate Change Effects on Forests and Grasslands: What You Need to Know” provides a brief overview of climate change effects on water resources, vegetation growth, wildlife, and disturbances. This module, which can be used to satisfy the Forest Service Climate Change Performance Scorecard Element, was designed to be approachable and flexible for people who wish to understand observed and projected climate change effects.
With SW CSC support, a research team headed by USGS research ecologist Phillip van Mantgem has begun the first large-scale assessment of prescribed fire as a management tool for increasing forest resilience to severe drought. Using the current severe drought in the Southwest as a natural experiment, the project will combine direct measurements of tree mortality with tree-ring indices of tree health to determine the effectiveness of prescribed fire as a tool. As part of the project, the research team launched a new website with project information and contact information.
California’s precipitation and precipitation variability are discussed in a new 2- page summary developed by the California-Nevada Climate Applications Program and its partners, including the Southwest Climate Science Center. This summary examines seasonality, precipitation variability, and the importance of large storms. The summarized findings indicate that floods, drought, and water availability are all related to a few large storms each year.