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Adapting California's ecosystems to a changing climate

  • Author(s): Chornesky, EA
  • Ackerly, DD
  • Beier, P
  • Davis, FW
  • Flint, LE
  • Lawler, JJ
  • Moyle, PB
  • Moritz, MA
  • Scoonover, M
  • Byrd, K
  • Alvarez, P
  • Heller, NE
  • Micheli, ER
  • Weiss, SB
  • et al.
Abstract

© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Significant efforts are underway to translate improved understanding of how climate change is altering ecosystems into practical actions for sustaining ecosystem functions and benefits. We explore this transition in California, where adaptation and mitigation are advancing relatively rapidly, through four case studies that span large spatial domains and encompass diverse ecological systems, institutions, ownerships, and policies. The case studies demonstrate the context specificity of societal efforts to adapt ecosystems to climate change and involve applications of diverse scientific tools (e.g., scenario analyses, downscaled climate projections, ecological and connectivity models) tailored to specific planning and management situations (alternative energy siting, wetland management, rangeland management, open space planning). They illustrate how existing institutional and policy frameworks provide numerous opportunities to advance adaptation related to ecosystems and suggest that progress is likely to be greatest when scientific knowledge is integrated into collective planning and when supportive policies and financing enable action.

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