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Knowledge coproduction on the impact of decisions for waterbird habitat in a changing climate

April 6, 2023

Scientists, resource managers, and decision-makers increasingly use knowledge co-production to guide the stewardship of future landscapes under climate change. This process was applied in the California Central Valley, USA to solve complex conservation problems, where managed wetlands and croplands are flooded between fall and spring to support some of the largest concentrations of shorebirds and waterfowl in the world. We co-produced scenario narratives, spatially-explicit flooded waterbird habitat models, data products, and new knowledge about climate adaptation potential. We document our co-production process, and using the co-produced models, we ask: “when and where do management actions make a difference?” and “when does climate override these actions?” The outcomes of this process provide lessons learned on how to co-create usable information and how to increase climate adaptive capacity in a highly managed landscape. We found that: 1) actions to restore wetlands and prioritize their water supply create habitat outcomes resilient to climate change impacts particularly in March, when habitat is most limited, 2) land protection combined with management can increase the ecosystem's resilience to climate change, and 3) the uptake and use of this information was influenced by the roles of different stakeholders, plus rapidly changing water policies, discrepancies in decision-making time frames, and immediate crises of extreme drought. While a broad stakeholder group contributed knowledge to scenario narratives and model development, to co-produce usable information, data products were tailored to a small set of decision contexts, leading to fewer stakeholder participants over time. A boundary organization convened stakeholders across a large landscape, and early adopters helped to build legitimacy, yet broad-scale use of climate adaptation knowledge will depend on state and local policies, engagement with decision-makers that have legislative and budgetary authority, and the capacity to fit data products to specific decision needs.

Publication Year 2023
Title Knowledge coproduction on the impact of decisions for waterbird habitat in a changing climate
DOI 10.1111/cobi.14089
Authors Kristin B. Byrd, Elliott Matchett, Claudia Mengelt, Tamara S. Wilson, Deanne DiPietro, Monica Moritsch, Erin Conlisk, Sam Veloz, Michael L. Casazza, Matthew Reiter
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Biology
Index ID 70242657
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center