Climate change adaptation and mitigation options a guide for natural resource managers in southern forest ecosystemsThis article contains other documents. View all titles contained within this article here.
The rapid pace of climate change and its direct and indirect effects on forest ecosystems present a pressing need for better scientific understanding and the development of new science-management partnerships. Understanding the effects of stressors and disturbances (including climatic variability), and developing and testing science-based management options to deal with them, have been core research tasks for researchers in the southern United States for decades. Climate change adds a new dimension to this task because it can directly impact forest ecosystems over large spatial scales and interact with other stressors and disturbances to create stress complexes that may have an even greater impact than any single stressor. In addition, the large spatial scale and complex interactions that occur with climate change make traditional experimental approaches and direct application of existing scientific studies difficult. Despite these challenges, climate change science is progressing rapidly, and new insights from recent syntheses, models, experiments, and observations provide enough information to begin taking action now.