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Drought, Fire and Extreme Weather

 

Droughts, fires, and extreme weather events like hurricanes have become more common and more devastating in recent years. CASC-supported scientists are working to understand how these phenomenon are affecting important natural and cultural resources and how they will continue to change over time. Browse our projects below or use our Project Explorer database to explore more science on this topic.

Filter Total Items: 123

Strategic Habitat Conservation and Adaptive Strategies for the Conservation of Coqui Frogs in Puerto Rico

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources need to develop a plan of action to help the recovery of two endangered species in the genus Eleutherodactylus (commonly known as “coqui”), while also reducing the risk that 14 other coqui species would be added to the Endangered Species list. Prior work by these researchers has identified fact...
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Strategic Habitat Conservation and Adaptive Strategies for the Conservation of Coqui Frogs in Puerto Rico

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources need to develop a plan of action to help the recovery of two endangered species in the genus Eleutherodactylus (commonly known as “coqui”), while also reducing the risk that 14 other coqui species would be added to the Endangered Species list. Prior work by these researchers has identified fact...
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Improving the Success of Post-Fire Adaptive Management Strategies in Sagebrush Steppe

Sagebrush steppe is one of the most widely distributed ecosystems in North America. Found in eleven western states, this important yet fragile ecosystem is dominated by sagebrush, but also contains a diversity of native shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants. It provides critical habitat for wildlife like pronghorn and threatened species such as the greater sage-grouse, and is grazed by livestock o
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Improving the Success of Post-Fire Adaptive Management Strategies in Sagebrush Steppe

Sagebrush steppe is one of the most widely distributed ecosystems in North America. Found in eleven western states, this important yet fragile ecosystem is dominated by sagebrush, but also contains a diversity of native shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants. It provides critical habitat for wildlife like pronghorn and threatened species such as the greater sage-grouse, and is grazed by livestock o
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Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity

The 2017 fire season in California was highly unusual with its late seasonal timing, the areal extent it burned, and its devastation to communities. These fires were associated with extreme winds and were potentially also influenced by unusually dry conditions during several years leading up to the 2017 events. This fire season brought additional attention and emphasized the vital need for manager
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Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity

The 2017 fire season in California was highly unusual with its late seasonal timing, the areal extent it burned, and its devastation to communities. These fires were associated with extreme winds and were potentially also influenced by unusually dry conditions during several years leading up to the 2017 events. This fire season brought additional attention and emphasized the vital need for manager
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Improving and Accelerating the Application of Science to Natural Resource Management in California

California - one of the nation's most populous states - hosts extensive public lands, crown-jewel national parks, and diverse natural resources. Resource managers in federal, state, tribal, and local agencies face challenges due to environmental changes and extreme events such as severe droughts, heat waves, flood events, massive wildfires, and forest dieback. However, state-of-the-art research th
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Improving and Accelerating the Application of Science to Natural Resource Management in California

California - one of the nation's most populous states - hosts extensive public lands, crown-jewel national parks, and diverse natural resources. Resource managers in federal, state, tribal, and local agencies face challenges due to environmental changes and extreme events such as severe droughts, heat waves, flood events, massive wildfires, and forest dieback. However, state-of-the-art research th
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Working with Natural Resource Managers to Co-Produce Drought Analyses in Hawai‘i

The climate in Hawai‘i is changing, and alterations in rainfall amount and distribution have implications for future vegetation cover, non-native species invasions, watershed function, and fire behavior. As novel ecosystems and climates emerge in Hawai‘i, particularly hotter and drier climates, it is critical that scientists produce locally relevant, timely and actionable science products and that...
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Working with Natural Resource Managers to Co-Produce Drought Analyses in Hawai‘i

The climate in Hawai‘i is changing, and alterations in rainfall amount and distribution have implications for future vegetation cover, non-native species invasions, watershed function, and fire behavior. As novel ecosystems and climates emerge in Hawai‘i, particularly hotter and drier climates, it is critical that scientists produce locally relevant, timely and actionable science products and that...
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Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Projected Changes in Water Quality and Quantity for Protected Areas in the Upper Mississippi Watershed

Climate change and the extreme weather associated with it can be a major challenge to landowners and land managers interested in the protection, restoration, recovery, and management of wetlands and wildlife habitats. The Midwest is not only experiencing an increase in average temperatures and precipitation, but also an increase in the frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves and floods. Fo
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Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Projected Changes in Water Quality and Quantity for Protected Areas in the Upper Mississippi Watershed

Climate change and the extreme weather associated with it can be a major challenge to landowners and land managers interested in the protection, restoration, recovery, and management of wetlands and wildlife habitats. The Midwest is not only experiencing an increase in average temperatures and precipitation, but also an increase in the frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves and floods. Fo
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Identifying Characteristics of Actionable Science for Drought Planning and Adaptation

Changing climate conditions can make water management planning and drought preparedness decisions more complicated than ever before. Resource managers can no longer rely solely on historical data and trends to base their actions, and are in need of science that is relevant to their specific needs and can directly inform important planning decisions. Questions remain, however, regarding the most ef
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Identifying Characteristics of Actionable Science for Drought Planning and Adaptation

Changing climate conditions can make water management planning and drought preparedness decisions more complicated than ever before. Resource managers can no longer rely solely on historical data and trends to base their actions, and are in need of science that is relevant to their specific needs and can directly inform important planning decisions. Questions remain, however, regarding the most ef
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Fire Refugia in Old-Growth Forests: Predicting Habitat Persistence to Support Land Management in an Era of Rapid Global Change

Mature, old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, including the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. Dominated by large Douglas-firs and western hemlocks, these established forests range in age from 200 to 1,000 years old. Yet wildfire activity is increasing across western North America, heightening concerns about severe fires
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Fire Refugia in Old-Growth Forests: Predicting Habitat Persistence to Support Land Management in an Era of Rapid Global Change

Mature, old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, including the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. Dominated by large Douglas-firs and western hemlocks, these established forests range in age from 200 to 1,000 years old. Yet wildfire activity is increasing across western North America, heightening concerns about severe fires
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Big Sagebrush Response to Wildfire and Invasive Grasses in the 21st Century

Big sagebrush plant communities are important and widespread in western North America and are crucial for meeting long-term conservation goals for greater sage-grouse and other wildlife of conservation concern. Yet wildfire is increasing in the West, turning biodiverse, shrub-based ecosystems dominated by sagebrush into grasslands containing invasive species such as cheatgrass and less overall pla
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Big Sagebrush Response to Wildfire and Invasive Grasses in the 21st Century

Big sagebrush plant communities are important and widespread in western North America and are crucial for meeting long-term conservation goals for greater sage-grouse and other wildlife of conservation concern. Yet wildfire is increasing in the West, turning biodiverse, shrub-based ecosystems dominated by sagebrush into grasslands containing invasive species such as cheatgrass and less overall pla
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Developing and Testing a Rapid Assessment Method for Understanding Key Social Factors of Ecological Drought Preparedness

Drought is a complex environmental hazard that impacts both ecological and social systems. Accounting for the role of human attitudes, institutions, and societal values in drought planning is important to help identify how various drought durations and severity may differentially affect social resilience to adequately respond to and manage drought impacts. While there have been successful past eff
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Developing and Testing a Rapid Assessment Method for Understanding Key Social Factors of Ecological Drought Preparedness

Drought is a complex environmental hazard that impacts both ecological and social systems. Accounting for the role of human attitudes, institutions, and societal values in drought planning is important to help identify how various drought durations and severity may differentially affect social resilience to adequately respond to and manage drought impacts. While there have been successful past eff
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Analyzing the Response of Waterflow to Projected Climate Conditions in the Upper Rio Grande Basin

Water availability in the upper Rio Grande Basin is dependent on winter and monsoon season precipitation. Consecutive years of drought and above average temperatures have diminished water supply and increased demand for water in this region. The increasing gap between water supply and demand is cause for concern. Climate projections for the southwestern and south central United States suggest that
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Analyzing the Response of Waterflow to Projected Climate Conditions in the Upper Rio Grande Basin

Water availability in the upper Rio Grande Basin is dependent on winter and monsoon season precipitation. Consecutive years of drought and above average temperatures have diminished water supply and increased demand for water in this region. The increasing gap between water supply and demand is cause for concern. Climate projections for the southwestern and south central United States suggest that
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Understanding Fire-caused Vegetation Type Conversion in Southwestern Conifer Forests under Current and Future Climate Conditions

Fire size, frequency, overall area burned, and severity are increasing across many vegetation types in the southwestern U.S. In many cases, large contiguous areas are burning repeatedly at high severity, triggering vegetation type conversions (VTC), where once-dominant coniferous forests fail to return to their pre-fire state, often transitioning to shrub- or grass-dominated systems. Loss of these
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Understanding Fire-caused Vegetation Type Conversion in Southwestern Conifer Forests under Current and Future Climate Conditions

Fire size, frequency, overall area burned, and severity are increasing across many vegetation types in the southwestern U.S. In many cases, large contiguous areas are burning repeatedly at high severity, triggering vegetation type conversions (VTC), where once-dominant coniferous forests fail to return to their pre-fire state, often transitioning to shrub- or grass-dominated systems. Loss of these
Learn More