Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis

Submitted by Climate Risk Institute | published 13th Sep 2022 | last updated 1st Nov 2022
Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States

Overview and Purpose

This resource was submitted by the Climate Risk Institute for use by the CanAdapt Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice.

This article is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

This assessment provides input to the reauthorized National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the National Climate Assessment (NCA); it also establishes the scientific foundation needed to manage for drought resilience and adaptation. The NIDIS Act1 was signed into law in 2006 and reauthorized by Congress in 2014.2 NIDIS will be implemented through a network of agencies and partners to integrate drought monitoring and forecasting systems at multiple levels (Federal, State, and local). It will support research that focuses on drought risk assessment, forecasting, and monitoring. Produced every 4 years, the NCA evaluates the effects of global climate change on forests, agriculture, rangelands, land and water resources, human health and welfare, and biological diversity, and it projects major trends. The NCA is based on technical information produced by public agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

As drought regimes change, the ability to quantify and predict the impacts on forests and rangelands is critical to developing and implementing management actions to increase resiliency and adaptation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Research and Development scientists in partnership with Duke University authored this assessment, entitled, Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis. The assessment is a collaborative effort authored by 77 scientists from the Forest Service and other Federal agencies, research institutions, and various universities across the United States. The authors identified key issues from a series of virtual workshops involving scientists and stakeholders. Focal areas in the assessment include drought characterization, drought impacts on forest processes and disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire, and the consequences on forest and rangeland values. The assessment closely follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process, which is organized with convening authors, lead chapter authors, and contributing authors. The convening authors for the assessment had the chapters individually peer reviewed, and the lead and contributing authors revised the text in response to reviewer comments. 


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