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Resilience or Catastrophe in California? The Fate of Forests and Grasslands

Speaker: Dr. Lara M. Kueppers, University of California, Berkeley

A legacy of land (mis)management has transformed California forests, grasslands, and fire regimes. These ecosystems are also under intense climate pressure. At the same time, state climate policy is pushing extensive new forest management approaches to simultaneously foster ecological resilience, disaster mitigation, and carbon sequestration.

Can management alter trajectories of change in the structure, function, and disturbance regimes of forests and grasslands? Or will increasing CO2 and climate change overwhelm these efforts? 

This talk will present advances in predictions of ecosystem change at a policy-relevant scale. Highlights will include evidence of the importance of elevated CO2 to current forest structure, and climate vs management effects on 20th-century forest change. It will also touch on representation of non-forest ecosystems, which are essential features of California’s present and future landscapes.

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