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Davis Ranches

Climate patterns thousands of miles away affect US bird migration

Bird migration in the U.S. is monitored in the context of four “flyways” or principle migration routes, two in the east and two in the west. The new research digs into the timing of environmental cues, such as temperature and weather patterns, that prompt birds to travel along their flyway.

The scientists analyzed 23 years of bird migration data collected via NOAA’s Next Generation Radar system — a network of 143 radar stations across the continental U.S. — to determine the variability in the birds’ arrival times each spring. This is where they made their first discovery: the U.S. could be divided into two regions, east and west, each with a distinct pattern of variability in bird arrival times…

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Saving Our Swamps [Letter in the New Yorker Magazine]

Taking the time to reinforce ideas in the public realm is important if we are going to change people's perceptions of climate solutions. It's not easy getting published. Often you have to respond quickly, which means paying attention to what's going on around you and reserving time to be nimble.

Here you will find a short letter submitted by the land trust’s executive director, under the heading “Letters respond to Annie Proulx’s piece about swamps” (and beavers as part of the climate solution):

The dewatering of North America that Proulx describes was underway well before the nineteenth century, when westward expansionists began cutting down forests and farmers began draining and tilling fields. By the time those people were “reclaiming” land for their use, fur traders had been wreaking havoc on our wetlands for almost two hundred years, through the commodification of beavers…

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Species Migration
Emma Jacobs for NPR

Foresters hope ‘assisted migration’ will preserve landscapes as the climate changes

There's a shift in thinking about assisted migration (what I call "species jumping") given the increased pace of climate change. While many species won't survive, some may have a better chance if humans provide assistance.

“Thinking about actively moving species around is a little, well a lot uncomfortable for us,” acknowledges Abe Miller-Rushing, the science coordinator for Acadia National Park in Maine. “What might be the kind of unintended consequences? What diseases might we unintentionally move around if we move species around?”

He says, historically, the Parks Service has preferred hands-off management and modeled restorations on past conditions. In Acadia though, he noted, not intervening as warming takes place could mean the park’s iconic evergreen forests get replaced by shrubland, dominated by invasive bushes…

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Under The Sea

Study shows 90% of marine species at risk of extinction in 78 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed

Many conservation groups and people are focused on land-based conservation work, yet the health of the oceans will have far-reaching impacts on land-based communities and wildlife, as well as our weather patterns.

Greenhouse gas emissions impact the world’s climate in two ways. They raise the temperature of the atmosphere (and by extension, Earth’s surfaces and bodies of water) by holding in heat, and in the case of CO2 emissions, they make water more acidic, like carbonated soft drinks…

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Beaver: The North American freshwater climate action plan

There’s a strong consensus among scientists and environmental managers on the benefits of working with beavers to protect our natural environments. This scientific article explains how.

Rivers and streams, when fully connected to their floodplains, are naturally resilient systems that are increasingly part of the conversation on nature-based climate solutions. Reconnecting waterways to their floodplains improves water quality and quantity, supports biodiversity and sensitive species conservation, increases flood, drought and fire resiliency, and bolsters carbon sequestration. But, while the importance of river restoration is clear, beaver-based restoration—for example, strategic coexistence, relocation, and mimicry—remains an underutilized strategy despite ample data demonstrating its efficacy.

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Manuel Valdes / Associated Press

Want to fight climate change and drought at the same time? Bring back beavers

This nature-based restoration effort can help stave off the worst effects of climate change that are warming streams, deepening droughts, and fueling wildfires.

There’s a strong consensus among scientists and environmental managers on the benefits of working with beavers to protect our natural environments. Beavers can help us continue to live on, work with, and enjoy our Western landscape. As ecosystem engineers, they build dams and dig canals to escape predators. Their manipulation of plants for food and building materials produces wide-ranging environmental gains…

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Roslan Rahman/AFP

UK scientists find climate change is stressing bees out and making their wings go wonky

We can learn from research in the UK and anticipate the impacts in our country. Bees and pollinators are already stressed here in the US. We are going to need to increase habitat and reduce climate stress.

“With hotter and wetter conditions predicted to place bumblebees under higher stress, the fact these conditions will become more frequent under climate change means bumblebees may be in for a rough time over the 21st century,” scientists at Imperial College, London, said in their report published in the Animal Ecology journal on Wednesday…

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Heat waves may limit mating in birds, but can behavior mitigate the effects of climate change?

Often we hear concerns about the loss of birds due to renewables or habitat degradation. Yet climate change is a significant threat. The question is, can they adapt? We've already lost 1/3 of the bird population (nearly 3 billion birds) in North America over the last 50 years... The numbers speak for themselves: birds need us to take action.

Scientists are racing to understand how animals respond to climate change, including the increasing prevalence and intensity of heat waves. Heat waves can be lethal, even for endotherms (warm-blooded animals) that internally regulate their own temperatures. But what about the sub-lethal effects of heat that do not kill animals but still might influence their ability to thrive in our changing world?

Behavioral and physiological effects of heat are likely but have been missing from recent high-profile studies on climate change. Researchers from Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Tennessee Knoxville recently teamed up to examine how heat and behavior interact to affect physiology…

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Mousam Way Land Trust

Assisted migration project

Given the pace of climate change and extreme weather, many plants/trees will likely need assisted migration.

The following is an excerpt from their website:

“Continued climate warming will disrupt our forests and their ability to lessen the impact of high CO2 levels. We will lose our cool adapted evergreens and hardwoods which, in turn, will change the nature of the forest and everything in and around it. The Mousam Way Land Trust is initiating a project to plant warm-adapted southern tree species on our reserves in anticipation of this radical change.  In time these southern replacements will become part of the forest and restore some balance.

You are invited to help us go one step farther by planting these replacements in your own landscape from which they will eventually spread…”

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Misty Tree

Assisted migration

Given the pace of climate change and extreme weather, many plants/trees will likely need assisted migration. Check out this information on the U.S. Forest Service website. I'll be posting more research on this topic, too.

Trees are adapted to specific combinations of environmental and climatic conditions that allow them to grow, thrive, and reproduce. Climate change is already altering conditions across the planet, and changes are expected to continue in the decades to come. The rapid pace of climate change may exceed the ability of many species to adapt in place or migrate to suitable habitats, and this fundamental mismatch raises the possibility of extinction or local extirpation. Assisted migration, human-assisted movement of species in response to climate change, is one management option that is available to address this challenge. This topic page will examine some of the scientific background and management considerations related to assisted migration, focused primarily on tree species.

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