Climate Resilience- Let’s Not Overthink This

Those of you who read this blog, know that I am a big fan of TU’s approach to climate change Protect, Reconnect, Restore, Sustain. It’s on the front page of their website here. It seems to me like these are the basics of leaving the land in the best condition to respond to climate change as well as other stressors. We basically have a chance to refocus on what we should have been doing all along; good land management, adaptive management with adaptive governance.

For the discussions in the next few weeks, I think it is important that we have an idea of what we mean by climate resilience or ecosystem resilience, which may be two different things. For one thing, climate will require resilient social as well as ecosystems. There is an opportunity for us to become entangled in a verbal jungle from which we may never emerge. So we asked University of Montana graduate student Matt Ehrman to take a look at the different definitions and see how much definitional diversity there is; and if there is diversity in just the definitions of resilience compared to activities designed to promote climate compared to ecosystem resilience.”

Here is a link to the paper Climate Resilience<. He summarizes:

The second principle in the forest planning rule’s NOI asks the public to consider whether plans could proactively address climate change through a series of measures, such as “[management] will need to restore ecosystem resiliency, and also factor adaptation and mitigation strategies into planning and project development.” The new planning rule should go a step further and offer a clear definition of resilience. It should also seek to identify the USFS value or resource that should be managed for resilience, in addition to what it is to be resilient to. The inherent ambiguity in the term “climate resilience” could pose problems for the USFS as it drafts forest plans under a planning rule that does not explicitly define climate resilience as ecosystem resilience to climate change.

Thoughts? How far along the simplicity spectrum do you want to be?

1 thought on “Climate Resilience- Let’s Not Overthink This”

  1. I agree that the rule should keep this subject as simple as possible. If we get into requiring the agency to guess what changes may occur on specific forests and areas and when and then what to do about all that, the brier patch we will end up in will be the worst we have ever seen. Restoration has its own goal of resilience, which is to restore the natural resilience nature builds into a forest ecosystem. Restoration tries to put back as many components and systems as possible to rebuild that resilience, resilience to events like storms as well as longer-term change. As an example, the forests of the southern Appalachians have a natural resilience and response to climate change, from Ice Ages to the present.

    Thus, “Protect, Reconnect, Restore, Sustain” sounds good to me. Protect what is intact, reconnect all the components and systems, restore what has been lost or damaged, and then manage to sustain all that. As with restoration programs, the details of that for each forest will vary depending on the details of the forest ecosystems involved and the problems there. The Rule could and should recognize the connection of restoration with the resilience needed for climate change overall in the forest and thus keep the resilience goals for the rule general, with guidance to work through the plan to determine what they should be for each forest.


Leave a Comment