94th ESA Annual Meeting (August 2 -- 7, 2009)

SYMP 24-7 - Using scenarios to plan for climate change in the National Park Service

Friday, August 7, 2009: 10:20 AM
Blrm C, Albuquerque Convention Center
Leigh Welling, Climate Change Response Program, National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO

Rapid climate change presents significant threats to National Park resources and resource values. While resource management decisions must be based on future expectations, the future under climate change cannot be predicted with as much accuracy and precision as we would like. 


The National Park Service is undertaking a collaborative effort to use climate change scenario planning as a tool for science-based planning and decision-making in the face of an uncertain future. Scenario planning does not require precise future predictions, but explores a range of predictions to allow us to begin thinking through what appropriate responses might be. By helping to envision alternative futures, scenarios can be used as a tool to identify policies and actions that will lead to various outcomes.  Major benefits of this approach are (1) increased understanding of key uncertainties, (2) incorporation of alternative perspectives into conservation planning, and (3) improved capacity for adaptive management. An overview of scenario planning will be presented along with current status and case study results from Joshua Tree National Park.