Science Center Objects

Natural resource managers are coping with rapid changes in both environmental conditions and ecosystems. Enabled by recent advances in data collection and assimilation, short-term ecological forecasting may be a powerful tool to help resource managers anticipate impending changes in ecosystem dynamics (that is, the approaching near-term changes in ecosystems). Managers may use the information i...

Natural resource managers are coping with rapid changes in both environmental conditions and ecosystems. Enabled by recent advances in data collection and assimilation, short-term ecological forecasting may be a powerful tool to help resource managers anticipate impending changes in ecosystem dynamics (that is, the approaching near-term changes in ecosystems). Managers may use the information in forecasts to minimize the adverse effects of ecological stressors and optimize the effectiveness of management actions. To explore the potential for ecological forecasting to enhance natural resource management, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) convened a workshop titled “Building capacity for Applied Short-Term Ecological Forecasting” in May 2019 with participants from several Federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as all mission areas within the USGS. 

Short-term ecological forecasting—on the order of days to years into the future—has tremendous potential to improve the quality and timeliness of information available to guide resource management decisions. Participants considered how ecological forecasting could directly affect their agency missions and specified numerous critical tools for addressing natural resource management concerns in the 21st century that could be enhanced by ecological forecasting. Given this breadth of possible applications for forecast products, participants developed a repeatable framework for evaluating the potential value of a forecast product for enhancing resource management. Applying that process to a large list of forecast ideas that were developed in a brainstorming session, participants identified a set of promising forecast products that illustrate the value of ecological forecasting for informing resource management. Workshop outcomes include insights about important likely obstacles and next steps. In particular, reliable production and delivery of operational ecological forecasts will require a sustained commitment by research agencies, in partnership with resource management agencies, to maintain and improve forecasting tools and capabilities.

Principal Investigators:

John Bradford (USGS)

Jake Weltzin (USGS)

Jill Baron (USGS)

Molly McCormick (USGS)

Publication(s):

Bradford, J.B., Weltzin, J.F., McCormick, M., Baron, J., Bowen, Z., Bristol, S., Carlisle, D., Crimmins, T., Cross, P., DeVivo, J., Dietze, M., Freeman, M., Goldberg, J., Hooten, M., Hsu, L., Jenni, K., Keisman, J., Kennen, J., Lee, K., Lesmes, D., Loftin, K., Miller, B.W., Murdoch, P., Newman, J., Prentice, K.L., Rangwala, I., Read, J., Sieracki, J., Sofaer, H., Thur, S., Toevs, G., Werner, F., White, C.L., White, T., and Wiltermuth, M., 2020, Ecological forecasting—21st century science for 21st century management: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1073, 54 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201073.





Participants:

Anne Kinsinger (USGS) Keith Gaddis (NASA)
Brian Miller (USGS) Keith Loftin (USGS)
C. LeAnn White (USGS) Ken Nowak (USBR)
Darren Carlisle (USGS) Leslie Hsu (USGS)
David Lesmes (USGS) Mark Wiltermuth (USGS)
Francisco (Cisco) Werner (NOAA) Mary Freeman (USGS)
Gary Matlock (NOAA) Mevin Hooten (USGS)
Gordon Toevs (BLM) Michael Hildner (BLM)
Helen Sofaer (USGS) Mike Dietze (BU)
Imtiaz Rangwala (University of Colorado) Mike Focazio (USGS)
Jana Newman (FWS) Molly McCormick (USGS)
Jason Goldberg (FWS) Paul Cross (USGS)
Jennifer Keisman (USGS) Peter Murdoch (USGS)
Joe DeVivo (NPS) Sky Bristol (USGS)
Jonathan Kennen (USGS) Steve Thur (NOAA)
Jordan Read (USGS) Tammy Cook (NPS)
Karen Jenni (USGS) Theresa Crimmins (USANPN)
Karen Prentice (BLM) Timothy White (BOEM)
Kathy Lee (USGS) Zack Bowen (USGS)