2A.2 The Role of Information in Climate Change Adaptation on Western Public Lands

Monday, 18 July 2011: 1:45 PM
Salon A (Asheville Renaissance)
Kelli Archie, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and L. Dilling

Climate change and its associated consequences are projected to increasingly impact the physical landscape of and ecosystem services delivered by public lands in the Western United States. Existing research details projected changes in climate and land cover, strategies that are available to adapt to future conditions, and adaptation activities that are currently taking place. However, little is known about whether this type of information is used by public lands managers for decision making, or whether they find it usable. This paper seeks to examine the information needs of public lands managers in the Western US and to explore whether and how demand for information varies across types of public land agencies (NPS, USFS, BLM, FWS). Through case studies and surveys, we examine the difficulties managers currently face in regard to implementation of adaptation strategies, what information they currently use and why, and what types of additional resources decision makers need in order to prepare for adaptation. In this paper we report the preliminary results of a survey administered to over 3000 federal public lands decision makers in three Western U.S. states, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Overall the goal of this study is to understand how science can better support decision makers as they plan for adaptation to climate change. Information on practitioner demand for information can be used to inform future research and illuminate opportunities for more effective reconciliation of the supply of and demand for science.
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