State of the Science on Ecosystem Transformation

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Recent changes in climate are having profound effects on many fish and wildlife species, and projections suggest that those trends are likely to continue. Changing climate conditions have the potential to transform ecosystems, which impacts not only fish and wildlife but also human communities, which rely on ecosystems for important goods and services such as food and water filtration. Strategi...

Recent changes in climate are having profound effects on many fish and wildlife species, and projections suggest that those trends are likely to continue. Changing climate conditions have the potential to transform ecosystems, which impacts not only fish and wildlife but also human communities, which rely on ecosystems for important goods and services such as food and water filtration.

Strategies that are implemented by natural resource managers now have the potential to help minimize the impacts of changing climate conditions on species and ecosystems going forward. However, substantial knowledge gaps remain regarding how species might respond to changes in climate, such as whether these changes will lead to ecosystem transformations, and how managers can best begin to prepare for these changes now.

Members of the fish and wildlife professional societies in North America - the American Fisheries Society (AFS) and The Wildlife Society (TWS) - recently identified ecosystem transformation as a priority topic among emerging climate change issues in natural resource management. To help fill existing knowledge gaps surrounding this issue, experts from AFS and TWS will synthesize the state of the science on ecosystem transformation. This effort will result in scientific publications and a symposium at the 2019 joint AFS-TWS meeting in Reno, NV. Researchers from the National CASC will take a lead role in authoring these publications and coordinating the symposium.