Unfamiliar Territory: Emerging Themes for Ecological Drought Research and Management

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Novel forms of drought are emerging globally, due to climate change, shifting teleconnection patterns, expanding human water use, and a history of human influence on the environment that increases the probability of transformational ecological impacts. 

These costly ecological impacts cascade to human communities, and understanding this changing drought landscape is one of today’s grand challenges. Using a modified horizon-scanning approach that integrated scientists, managers, and decision-makers, researchers identified the emerging issues in ecological drought that represent key challenges to timely and effective responses. They reviewed the themes that most urgently need attention, including novel drought conditions, the potential for transformational drought impacts, and the need for anticipatory drought management. This horizon scan and review provides a roadmap to facilitate the research and management innovations that will support forward-looking, co-developed approaches to reduce the risk of drought to our socio-ecological systems during the 21st century. 

Crausbay, S., Ramirez, A., Betancourt, J., Bradford, J.B., Cartwright, J., Dunham, J.B., Enquist, C., Frazier, A., Hall, K., Littell, J.S., Luce, C.H., Palmer, R., Rangwala, I., Thompson, L., Carter, S., 2020, Unfamiliar territory: emerging themes for ecological drought research and management: One Earth, v. 3, no. 3, p. 337-353, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.08.019 

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Date published: November 20, 2017
Status: Active

Aquatic & Landscape Ecology Research Team (FRESC)

Fresh waters are one of the most valuable and threatened resources worldwide. They supply critical services to society and harbor many of the world’s most imperiled species. We conduct research and provide technical assistance to address challenges to fresh waters. Our research focuses on ecological processes in freshwater and terrestrial systems and the effects of those processes on landscape...