Free Webinar Discusses Forest Service Drought Report

drought-report-imageThe U.S. Forest Service is hosting a free webinar April 8, 2016 at 1 p.m. (EST) to discuss the findings in their recently released report, Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis.

Presenters for the 90-minute webinar include:

  • James M. Vose, Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
  • James S. Clark, Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
  • Charles H. Luce, Research Hydrologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

The presenters will discuss key messages from the assessment. Topics to be covered include a state-of-the-science review of direct and indirect impacts of drought on forests and rangelands, as well as a discussion of management options for increasing resilience to future drought.

Pre-registration is not required. Participants can join the webinar via the Forestry Webinars webpage.

The drought report itself provides a national assessment of peer-reviewed scientific research on the impacts of drought on U.S. forests and rangelands. This report will help the Forest Service better manage forests and grasslands impacted by climate change.

The report establishes a comprehensive baseline of available data that land managers can use to test how well their efforts to improve drought resilience and adaptation practices are working nationwide. Major findings from the report include:

  • Drought projections suggest that some regions of the U.S. will become drier and that most will have more extreme variations in precipitation.
  • Even if current drought patterns remained unchanged, warmer temperatures will amplify drought effects.
  • Drought and warmer temperatures may increase risks of large-scale insect outbreaks and larger wildfires, especially in the western U.S.
  • Drought and warmer temperature may accelerate tree and shrub death, changing habitats and ecosystems in favor of drought-tolerant species.
  • Forest-based products and values – such as timber, water, habitat and recreation opportunities – may be negatively impacted.
  • Forest and rangeland managers can mitigate some of these impacts and build resiliency in forests through appropriate management actions.