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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Internalizing Climate Change—Scientific Resource Management and the Climate Change Challenges


Current projections of climate change present a number of challenges to scientists and decision-makers. The projections predict a twenty-first-century climate in which many climate variables are likely to trend across broad geographical areas and at rates that are rapid by historical standards. The projections of change are likely to remain uncertain for many years to come, and complete surprises are possible. Responses to these changes will have to span large areas and many variables, and impacts will interact in complex ways. In the face of these challenges, we offer recommendations as to strategic approaches that the CALFED Science Program—which serves here as an important and illustrative example from among the many current scientific resource- and ecosystem-management programs—and the scientific and public-policy communities in central California, in general, may need to pursue. Recommended strategies include emphasis on long-term eco- and resource-system adaptability—rather than historical verisimilitude—in its restoration targets; major commitments to long-term monitoring of restoration and impacts; even more integration across scientific disciplines, observations, models, and across the study area; increased use of manipulative experiments; and recognition that climate-change issues must be addressed in all efforts undertaken by the program.

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