State/Transition Simulation Models for Ecosystem Management
This webinar was conducted as a part of the Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, put on by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the FWS National Conservation Training Center. Webinar Summary: Sustainable management of natural resources under competing demands is challenging, particularly when facing novel and uncertain future climatic conditions. Meeting this challenge requires considering information about the effects of management, disturbance, land use and climate change on ecosystems. State-and-transition simulation models (STSMs) provide a flexible framework for integrating landscape processes and comparing alternative management scenarios, but incorporating climate change is an active area of research. In this presentation, three researchers present work funded by Climate Science Centers across the country to incorporate climate projections into STSMs. - The first case study integrates species distribution modeling with STSMs to project changes in whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This combination of correlative and stochastic models reproduced historical observations, identified important data gaps, and described potential future declines in whitebark pine. - The second study uses STSMs to address conservation and management of the longleaf pine ecosystem in the southeastern US under climate change and urbanization pressures. Results show that urbanization is likely to be a bigger threat to the future of the ecosystem than climate change. - The third study integrates multiple models to project future rangeland condition and habitat for Greater sage-grouse in eastern Oregon under varying climate and management scenarios. Projections indicate that rangeland condition and habitat are likely to decline due to current stressors, but climate change may have both positive and negative impacts. The three studies highlight the utility of STSMs for natural resource management in disparate ecosystems across the U.S.