Earth's climate is changing, as evidenced by warming temperatures, increased temperature variability, fluctuating precipitation patterns, and climate-related environmental disturbances. And with considerable uncertainty about the future, Forest Service land managers are now considering climate change adaptation in their planning efforts. They want practical approaches to managing forests and rangelands that will sustain key ecosystem functions, services, and critical habitats in the face of climate change. Climate change studies are proliferating, and locating pertinent information, as it applies to a particular Northwest landscape, can be a daunting task. Two Pacific Northwest Research Station scientists and their collaborators reviewed and synthesized extensive scientific knowledge and summarized model projections that describe vegetation vulnerability to climate-related environmental changes in the Pacific Northwest. They evaluated climate change issues for the region's five major biome types: (1) subalpine forests and alpine meadows, (2) maritime coniferous forests, (3) dry coniferous forests, (4) savannas and woodlands, and (5) interior shrubsteppe. A general technical report titled Climate Change Effects on Vegetation in the Pacific Northwest provides a valuable snapshot of current information on a wide variety of climate change issues that managers may encounter during planning processes and in interactions with stakeholders.
Oliver, Marie; Peterson, David W.; Kerns, Becky. 2016. Predicting the unpredictable: potential climate change impacts on vegetation in the Pacific Northwest. Science Findings 184. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.