John Stewart

Little Change in Drought Over 60 Years

A new paper out in the current issue of Nature finds little evidence to support claims that drought has increased globally over the past 60 years. The authors write:

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming. The simplicity of the PDSI, which is calculated from a simple water-balance model forced by monthly precipitation and temperature data, makes it an attractive tool in large-scale drought assessments, but may give biased results in the context of climate change6. Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.

What does this mean?

Original linkOriginal author: Roger

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John Stewart

UFWDA and USFS sign a MOU

A positive step forward has been achieved in on-going efforts to build relationships with public land managers by United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and was negotiated by Carla Boucher, the UFWDA legal advocate, who stated:

The recently signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the US Forest Service (USFS) and UFWDA indicates strongly the desire of both the Forest Service and UFWDA to express our common support for four wheel drive motor vehicle use recreationally on lands managed by the US Forest Service.

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John Stewart

Arizona Game and Fish reiterates concerns about some forest travel management restrictions

Sept. 21, 2012 - The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been in ongoing discussions with the USDA Forest Service over the past several years as the different forests go through their forest and travel management planning processes.

The Kaibab National Forest on Sept. 18 announced it had issued its final Travel Management Plan to designate roads, trails, and areas for motorized use on the North Kaibab Ranger District. There is a 45-day appeal period. Implementation of travel management rules on the Kaibab Plateau is expected to begin in January 2013.

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John Stewart

Climate Change Report Released

Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Aug. 27, 2012 - Climate change poses as much risk to public and private grassland and shrubland ecosystems as it does to forested ecosystems yet receives less attention by the public and key stakeholders. Consequently, most climate change research concentrates on forested ecosystems, leaving grassland and shrubland managers with insufficient information to guide decision making. The USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station published a comprehensive report summarizing climate change research and potential effects on grassland, shrub, and desert ecosystems. The report, “Climate Change in Grasslands, Shrublands, and Deserts of the Interior American West: A Review and Needs Assessment,” highlights current knowledge and future research essential to mitigate the prospective detrimental effects of climate change. It addresses animal, plant, and invasive species models and responses, vulnerabilities and genetic adaption, animal species and habitats, and decision support tools for restoration and land management.

Original linkOriginal author: Press

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John Stewart

Recreation Groups Join Efforts to Challenge New USFS Planning Regulations

Sacramento, CA (August 14, 2012) -- Recreation advocates yesterday joined with several other organizations in a legal challenge to new forest planning regulations promulgated by the U.S. Forest Service.

The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) and the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4Wheel) joined forces with the other forest product and multiple use groups in filing a lawsuit to require the Forest Service to modify its new planning rule to avoid its devastating impacts on the health of the National Forests, recreational uses of the forests and communities located nearby. 

The U.S. Forest Service formally adopted new National Forest Planning rules on April 9, 2012. The new regulations shift the agency away from a jobs and ecosystem approach. Instead, the planning rule would cement the National Forests in endless litigation over single species management; an approach that even the agency admits has failed repeatedly in the last three decades.

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