Toolkit: Vegetation Impacts

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Vegetative zones are shifting in numerous ways, causing wide-ranging impacts. There will be winners and losers in these changing regimes. Key resources about vegetative change vary greatly depending on the region and part of the country. Here’s a few good sources sorted by region to help you get started.
Servicewide Science

Eastern Forest Vulnerability Project - 121 parks throughout the eastern U.S.
Recent research investigated potential forest change in response to climate, differences in projections of change among climate scenarios (uncertainty), and levels of nonnative biotic stressors (tree pests and invasive plants) at 121 parks in the eastern U.S.
Climate Change Impacts and Carbon in U.S. National Parks [PDF]
This article in Park Science reveals that 96% of the land administered by the NPS experienced warming in the 20th century and provides an overview of the impacts being felt.
Western Mountains and Forests
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park website's climate change page is a great place to learn about the variety of ways the park is being affected. Their mountain pine beetle page has more in-depth info about their beetle threats specifically. You can also download their Climate Change in Rocky Mountain National Park Frequently Asked Questions document [PDF].
Pacific Coast
California Phenology Project [PDF]
This is a fact sheet provided by an interagency partnership between NPS, USGS, the University of CA at Santa Barbara and the National Phenology Network. Their project involves a monitoring and engagement campaign, started in 2010, and outlines participation across the Pacific West Region parks.
Alaska Region
This fact sheet was developed by NPS, AKR Inventory and Monitoring Program. It discusses several cold-adapted plant communities that are sensitive to change and can be effective indicators of changing climate.
Other Resources
Climate Change Effects on Forests and Grasslands
This module from the U.S. Forest Service provides an overview of climate science and the effects of climate change on water resources, vegetation, wildlife, and disturbances, specifically geared towards forest and grassland ecosystems. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Also from the U.S Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center, the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options is a web-based management tool that enables users to quickly search existing climate literature and planning documents for specific factors and points of interest.

Last updated: September 22, 2016


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