Natural Resource Management

Adaptive Governance Emerges in Response to Increasing Change and Complexity in our Social-Environmental-Technological Systems

By Aaron Whittemore, Center for Sustaining Agriculture at Washington State University Let’s examine the expected consequences of climate change on water resources in the Pacific Northwest. By mid-century, spring snowmelt in the region is expected to occur three to four weeks earlier and summer streamflow is expected to decline. In the Cascades, measurements of snowpack […]

Collage with photos of salmon in thver, a landscape with cliffs and the river, and a large, snow covered mountain

A New Approach to Increasing the Use of Prescribed Fire in Oregon

By John Rizza and Emily Jane Davis, Oregon State University Extension The health and function of many of Oregon’s forest ecosystems have historically been driven by and supported with fire. The warming and drying climate conditions observed in recent years are adding to the likelihood of severe, large-scale disturbances. The data and literature suggest that […]

Person pouring fuel on a large pile of slash, with other parts of the pile smoking in the background

Check it out: Is Climate Change or Forest Management Causing Megafires?

By Sonia A. Hall In response to the recent—and in California, ongoing—megafires, many have been asking whether the cause is climate change or forest management. Erin Hanan wrote a blog article arguing that this is not the right question, because in many cases both contribute to what is happening. The drivers of fire activity are […]

Mountainous landscape with smoke billowing up from wildfires

The Need for Flexibility when Managing Grazing

Matthew C. Reeves, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station The amount of annual net primary production on rangelands forms the forage base upon which livelihoods and billions of dollars of commerce depend. Land managers and livestock producers in the Pacific Northwest deal with high year-to-year variations in net primary production, which often varies 40% […]

Grassy, green hillslope with some shrubs scattered around

Rangeland Fire Protection Associations – An Important Tool, Now and in the Future

Emily Jane Davis, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Oregon State University Extension, & Sonia A. Hall, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University Wildfires in rangeland systems across the western United States, including the intermountain Northwest, are not going away. If anything, research and climate change modeling suggest that wildfire activity will […]

Cheatgrass seedheads in the foreground, mixed with medusahead spikes.

Community Learning and Social Resilience – An Example of its Importance

By James Ekins, Ph.D., University of Idaho Extension Understanding and managing natural resources and agricultural processes are complex tasks, especially in a rapidly changing world. Community resilience has been described as the “existence, development, and engagement of community resources by community members to thrive in an environment characterized by change, uncertainty, unpredictability and surprise (Magis […]

Citizen science workshop participants learning to collect water quality data in a gentle stream.

Check it out: Engagement as a Path Towards Greater Resilience to Climate Change

By Sonia A. Hall Over the last few years at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources we have developed a range of case studies highlighting individual farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest that are implementing practices or strategies that provide ecological and economic benefits now in addition to increasing resilience to climate […]

Two people on horseback rounding up cattle

The Lasting Impacts of Wildfire

Re-posted from Water Current News, WSU Extension In 1970, when a large lightening caused wildfire started in the Entiat Experimental Forest in north-central Washington, researchers had already collected 12 years of baseline data on three watersheds. Weather and streamflow (including quantity, quality, and timing of water discharge) had all been recorded. This provided a unique […]

Hillsolope with trees in the foreground, and rockier slopes with a forested patch in the background