Warming temperatures across western North America, coupled with increased drought, are expected to exacerbate disturbance regimes, particularly wildfires, insect outbreaks, and invasions of exotic species. Many ecologists and resource managers expect ecosystems to change more rapidly from disturbance effects than from the effects of a changing climate by itself. A particular challenge is to understand the interactions among disturbance regimes; for example, how will massive outbreaks of bark beetles, which kill drought-stressed trees by feeding on cambial tissues, increase the potential for large severe wildfires in a warming climate?
Researchers in climatology, ecosystem science, fire and insect ecology, and landscape modeling from across western North America convened in Tucson, Ariz., for a 2 and a half day intensive workshop to identify new research directions in climate change and disturbance ecology. Four work groups focused on different aspects of the response of disturbance regimes to climate change: (1) extreme events and climatic variability (2) the effects of changing disturbance regimes on ecosystems, (3) disturbance interactions and cumulative effects, and (4) developing new landscape disturbance models. The workshop was structured with the analytic hierarchy process, a decision support method for achieving consensus from diverse groups of experts without sacrificing individual contributions.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Climate change and disturbance interactions: Workshop on climate change and disturbance interactions in western North America, Tucson, Ariz., 12-15 February 2007|
|Series title||Eos, Earth and Space Science News|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|
|Contributing office(s)||Fort Collins Science Center|