2.3 Stronger Together: Leveraging Established Network Tools and Resources to Support Climate Change Adaptation

Monday, 7 January 2019: 2:30 PM
North 224A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Dawn M. Browning, USDA, Las Cruces, NM; and E. Elias and T. M. Crimmins

Agriculture faces diverse and often competing challenges that are anticipated to intensify in coming decades. Amid the backdrop of enhanced environmental awareness on the part of agricultural producers, demand for metrics and tools to measure, catalog and respond to shifts in conditions related to a warming climate is growing. Several national-scale research networks [e.g., Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR), Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER), National Ecological Observation Network (NEON), and Phenocam Network (PN)] offer insights, tools, and resources that can be directly address these growing needs. Additionally, the USDA Climate Hub (CH) network was established in 2014 to serve farmers, ranchers, and foresters in addressing the impacts of weather and climate on production at a regional scale. Existing research networks offer unique benefits to collaboration to serve agricultural producers and devise adaptation strategies. Those benefits range from open easy access to relevant landscape metrics to a network of citizen scientists poised to dramatically increase the depth and breadth of field observations that can be made. Collaborations between CHs and research networks provide potential impact via development and dissemination of data-driven tools that span a diverse array of ecosystem types.

We explore the utility of network collaboration for climate adaptations in the realm of plant phenology to quantify patterns and variation in the timing of ecosystem production as depicted via vegetation greenness. Phenology is the study of seasonal patterns, a first-order control on ecosystem productivity, and an integrative metric of how plants respond to climate. We showcase two case studies involving four networks: LTAR, PN, and CH and the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN). Our aim is to demonstrate how these research networks can interact to expand understanding, inform management strategies, and develop relevant science-based tools related to seasonality of ecosystem productivity. Specifically, we highlight examples from ongoing research focused on the following questions: (1) How do seasonal greening and browning patterns vary across the United States? And (2) What is the variability in timing across different regions? Case studies will represent capacities to develop new decision support options and methods for disseminating information to producers to support agroecosystem resilience and producer adaptive capacities.

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