A new assessment links the latest drought science with management responses
Most regions of the United States are projected to experience a higher frequency of severe droughts and longer dry periods as a result of a warming climate. In 2016, USDA Forest Service (USDA-FS) scientists and partners prepared a state-of-the-science synthesis of drought effects on the nation’s forests designed to inform drought resilience and adaptation efforts. A new volume released in 2019 builds on that work, linking recent scientific evidence with regionally focused discussions of risks, vulnerabilities, and management options to minimize drought impacts, optimize forest and rangeland recovery from drought, and create forests and rangelands better adapted to future drought conditions.
Drought conditions and impacts vary across the United States, and evaluating management options requires a regionally specific approach. The new volume includes seven regional chapters (Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, California, Hawai‘i and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, Interior West, Great Plains, Northeast and Midwest, and Southeast) that provide a state-of-the-science assessment of drought effects and region-specific management options to help natural resource managers anticipate and respond to current and future droughts.
The interagency effort led by USDA-FS involved researchers from the USGS, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, NOAA, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. This assessment product will provide input to USGCRP’s sustained assessment process, including the Fifth National Climate Assessment.
1 Vose, J.M., Peterson, D.P., Luce, C.H., and Patel-Weynand, T., eds. 2019. Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: Translating science into management responses. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-98. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. 227 p. doi: 10.2737/WO-GTR-98