Workshop to focus on conservation management and climate change

April 27th, 2012
Climate change can greatly impact biological species and ecosystems, requiring land managers to develop conservation management plans to accommodate habitat shifts. Recorded data already show that some animals and plants have moved to regions where their climatic requirements are better met.

To extend scientific information to managers and regulators on climate change implications for local conservation, the University of California, Riverside is hosting a daylong workshop on Tuesday, May 22.

"A Habitat Conservation Plan Workshop" will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert, Calif. The workshop is open to the public. Registration costs $55 until May 4 and $75 after that.

The workshop's target audience is local land managers interested in developing habitat conservation plans. Speakers at the workshop include conservation scientists from UC Riverside, UC Irvine, the US Geological Survey, and UC Cooperative Extension, as well as representatives from federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service.

For the workshop agenda and registration information, please visit http://ucanr.org/sites/climatechangeworkshop/.

"The objectives of this workshop will be to provide information to regional land managers to help them develop plans to manage species and ecosystems under future climate change," said Edith Allen, a professor of plant ecology and extension specialist at UCR, and the lead organizer of the workshop. "We will discuss ways how recent scientific findings can be incorporated into monitoring data management and land management plans. We also will discuss how current and future managers can be kept abreast of recent findings in habitat conservation."

The workshop is the third in a series of habitat conservation plan (HCP) workshops that UCR's Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) has taken the lead in organizing.

"A number of local datasets show that species and habitat shifts are already taking place because of climate change," said Allen, a CCB member. "For example, climate change has affected both Joshua trees in the California desert and the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, an endangered species. Our local HCPs have not yet fully considered what needs to be done under climate change. For this upcoming workshop we have therefore invited federal agencies to share and discuss their plans with us."

Habitat conservation planning governs the fate of millions of acres of wildlands across the United States. The plans, which require a complex integration of science, policy and management, have come under some criticism for their lack of strong science.

Because of the Endangered Species Act (1973), which legally required habitat conservation planning, some endangered species such as the bald eagle, were successfully brought back from the edge of extinction. Riverside County alone has approximately 150 species of concern in its plans.

Allen will be joined in organizing the workshop by Cameron Barrows, Thomas Scott and Michael Allen at UCR; and Christopher McDonald at UC Cooperative Extension, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Provided by University of California - Riverside

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