There are many AGW-Climate Change philosophical differences that are out there that may influence forest planning. I’m sure there are more that readers can add. I’ll use “you” to mean a forest or other planning entity.
1. How do you handle uncertainties about future climates? How explicit are you about them? How do you treat model outputs, or like Denver Water, do you use a pretty broad uncertainty envelope? How do you combine uncertainties about climate with uncertainties about other things.. population, recreation use, economics? Do you use scenarios and involve the public, or what is your approach to discussing uncertainties with the public? (this was discussed more generally in the previous post).
2. I give adaptive management its own category here because it is something that the FS (and BLM?) were supposed to be doing, but may have had trouble. At least at the level that some have talked about it (extremely formalized, scientist design, and so on). Perhaps at the District human being observational level or the specialist level (say fuels or wildlife or reforestation) it is working just fine using old-fangled communication- person to person and through professional groups. But maybe different “adaptive management” aficionados simply mean different things by their use of the term. How is adaptive management currently working on the forest, and how is the plan going to help- does it have a role; what are the requirements of the 2012 Rule on this, and how are they being applied?
3. Climate mitigation. Seems like we mostly hear about SOSO (same old same old) with regard to mitigation. ENGOs who didn’t want to cut trees now say it’s bad for carbon. ENGO’s who don’t like cattle grazing say it’s bad for methane. Less fossil fuel leasing seems like it would be mitigation, until you analyze it and discover that the sources simply move to private land or offshore. And what about recreation? Most recreators, myself included, use vehicles to access NF lands that are powered by fossil fuels directly or via electrical sources. What are the key issues in the plan vis a vis mitigation?
4. There’s also a bit of meta-thinking that I call Climate Everythingism.
To some, climate now the mantle for everything- other environmental issues, all natural hazards, as we have seen with EPA, CEQ, and many media outlets now have environment as a subset of climate. Check out the WaPo main page where Environment is a subset of Climate.
Others think that climate another source of uncertainty, like population and economics, which all need to be addressed through planning- and it is the role of each discipline to learn about what CC means for their resource.
Most Everythingists I’ve met consider themselves to be “climate experts” (whether I would consider them that or not). But for every Forest Service Everythingist who thinks we need climate specialists advising on each project, there is someone outside the Forest Service who thinks the agency itself can be done away with and replaced by a Climate Adaptation Agency staffed with.. climate experts.
I often find what is least talked about in these discussions are the disciplinary and authority implications of Everythingism, as well as moving the locus of knowledge and authority away from experts on the ground and the people most affected. At its worst Everythingism could be a systemic antagonist to the idea of empowering disadvantaged communities. I find Everythingists not usually involved with forest planning, but their ideas are in the atmosphere, and may well be among partners and the public, so I think it’s something to be aware of.
Addition: I just ran a across a job ad for a Climate Editor at Vox Media on Linked-In. Under “About the Job” it says:
Climate change is the most important story in the world. It’s no longer a looming consequence in the far-off future, but rather a present challenge that’s forcing all of us to adapt. Wildlife and natural habitats are disappearing, driving a biodiversity crisis.
If you’re an Everythingist, I suppose biodiversity is a subset of climate. It’s a mantle that you can place over everything, except perhaps non-native invasive species. But we don’t hear about the latter much anymore.
Please add your own philosophical differences that may affect the approach to climate change in forest plans.