Integrating climate change scenario planning into National Park Service resource management

Science Center Objects

Resource managers are tasked with managing complex systems with inherent uncertainty around how those systems might change with time and respond to management actions in a changing climate. Scenario planning—often implemented as a qualitative, participatory exercise for exploring multiple possible futures—is a valuable tool for addressing uncertainty. At the same time, quantitative information on projected cli­mate changes and their impacts is rapidly growing and evolv­ing, but this information is often not at a scale or in a form that resource managers can use. This project piloted a process for combining qualitative scenario planning and quantitative modeling in a way that would create manager-usable information, in large part by emphasizing the co-production of this information by scientists and managers. Building on this success, we developed a process to incorporate climate-change scenario planning into Resource Stewardship Strategies (RSSs), a planning tool developed and used by the National Park Service across the nation.The process was used in RSSs developed for Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming and Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.