Special Issue "Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Brice B. Hanberry
Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Rapid City, SD 57702, USA
Interests: climate change; drivers; fire; historical ecology and ecosystems; land use and land change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Matthew Reeves
Website
Guest Editor
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Address: 800 E. Beckwith, Missoula, MT, 59802
Interests: Decision support systems, rangeland remote sensing applications, Inventory and Monitoring
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jessica E. Halofsky
Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Olympia, WA 98512 USA
Interests: climate change impacts and adaptation; vegetation dynamics; disturbance ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is focused on the implications of climate change for ecosystems and society. Climate change is affecting ecosystems and society in numerous ways, and continued climate change is expected to have significant consequences. The identification of vulnerabilities and development of adaptive actions are critical to reducing the negative effects of climate change and helping transition ecosystems and society to deal with changing conditions.

We welcome research that examines shifting baselines of normal conditions and tolerance for change, the effects of climate change on coupled human and natural systems, and adaptive capacity. Contributors from different fields are invited to submit their articles on topics including (but not limited to): identification of vulnerabilities, adaptive approaches to climate change, successes and failures in working with organizations to develop vulnerability assessments and adaptation options, ideas to more effectively frame and address climate change, and climate change metrics that connect to human lives and livelihoods. Research should address climate change consequences for ecosystems and social systems.

Dr. Brice B. Hanberry
Dr. Matthew C. Reeves
Dr. Jessica E. Halofsky
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Adaptive capacity
  • Climate adaptation
  • Climate vulnerability
  • Coupled human–environment systems
  • Management approaches
  • Social learning

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Streamflow Alterations, Attributions, and Implications in Extended East Rapti Watershed, Central-Southern Nepal
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3829; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093829 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
Streamflow alteration and subsequent change in long-term average, seasonality, and extremes (e.g., floods and droughts) may affect water security, which is a major concern in many watersheds across the globe. Both climatic and anthropogenic activities may contribute to such changes. Therefore, this study [...] Read more.
Streamflow alteration and subsequent change in long-term average, seasonality, and extremes (e.g., floods and droughts) may affect water security, which is a major concern in many watersheds across the globe. Both climatic and anthropogenic activities may contribute to such changes. Therefore, this study assesses: (i) Streamflow and precipitation trends to identify streamflow alterations in the Extended East Rapti (EER) watershed in central-southern Nepal; (ii) relationship of the alterations to climatic and anthropogenic sources; and (iii) implications of streamflow changes to the socio-environmental system. The trends in streamflow were analyzed for pre-and post-1990 periods considering the abrupt shift in temperature trend in 1990. Results showed a general decreasing trends in discharge post-1990 in the EER watershed. Human activities have significantly contributed in altering streamflow in the EER. Human-induced streamflow alterations have affected the water availability, food security, river health, aquatic biodiversity, and groundwater abstraction in the EER watershed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Compounded Heat and Fire Risk for Future U.S. Populations
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083277 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme events, resulting in social and economic challenges. I examined recent past (1971–2000), current and near future (2010–2039), and future (2040–2069) fire and heat hazard combined with population growth by different regions and residential densities (i.e., [...] Read more.
Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme events, resulting in social and economic challenges. I examined recent past (1971–2000), current and near future (2010–2039), and future (2040–2069) fire and heat hazard combined with population growth by different regions and residential densities (i.e., exurban low and high densities, suburban, and urban low and high densities). Regional values for extreme fire weather days varied greatly. Temperature and number of extreme fire weather days increased over time for all residential density categories, with the greatest increases in the exurban low-density category. The urban high-density category was about 0.8 to 1 °C cooler than the urban low-density category. The areas of the urban and suburban density categories increased relative to the exurban low-density category. Holding climate change constant at 1970–2000 resulted in a temperature increase of 0.4 to 0.8 °C by 2060, indicating future population increases in warmer areas. Overall, U.S. residents will experience greater exposure to fire hazard and heat over time due to climate change, and compound risk emerges because fire weather and heat are coupled and have effects across sectors. Movement to urban centers will help offset exposure to fire but not heat, because urban areas are heat islands; however, urban high-density areas had lower base temperatures, likely due to city locations along coastlines. This analysis provides a timely look at potential trends in fire and heat risk by residential density classes due to the expansion and migration of US populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Opportunities and Challenges for Hurricane Resilience on Agricultural and Forest Land in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041364 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
Three storms in the 2017 hurricane season caused $265 billion in damages in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean, including billions in losses in the agriculture and forestry sector. Climate change projections indicate that such disastrous hurricane seasons are becoming more normal. Working land [...] Read more.
Three storms in the 2017 hurricane season caused $265 billion in damages in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean, including billions in losses in the agriculture and forestry sector. Climate change projections indicate that such disastrous hurricane seasons are becoming more normal. Working land management sectors need to prepare for this future. However, few studies evaluate hurricane resilience strategies, or challenges faced by land managers surrounding hurricane events. Boundary organizations are critical to hurricane preparedness and recovery, advising land managers before hurricanes, and often supporting recovery efforts. Here, we rely on public advisors’ experiences to understand how land managers pursue hurricane resilience. Using focus groups and an online survey of three agencies in the Southeast U.S. and U.S. Caribbean (n = 607), we identify challenges faced by land managers before and after hurricanes, and the strategies they implement to minimize damage. We learn that land managers are faced with many diverse and unique challenges related to hurricanes, but that long-term planning for hurricane events is uncommon compared to shorter-term preparedness and recovery activities. Efforts towards hurricane resilience should incorporate local needs, align with other land management goals, and increase overall resilience to climate change and related stressors. The results of this research can guide state/territorial and national-level prioritizations regarding hurricane resilience, as well as identify research needs on hurricane resilience strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Potential Climate Change Impacts and Adaptive Measures on Rice Yields: The Case of Zhejiang Province in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2372; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082372 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Increasing temperatures, greater carbon dioxide concentrations, and changes in related climatic variables will continue to affect the growth and yields of agricultural crops. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is extremely vulnerable to these climatic changes. Therefore, investigating the degree to which climate changes [...] Read more.
Increasing temperatures, greater carbon dioxide concentrations, and changes in related climatic variables will continue to affect the growth and yields of agricultural crops. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is extremely vulnerable to these climatic changes. Therefore, investigating the degree to which climate changes could influence rice yields and what effective adaptive strategies could be taken to mitigate the potential adverse impacts is of vital importance. In this article, the impacts of climate change on rice yields in Zhejiang province, China, were simulated under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios. The impacts of climate change, with and without CO2 fertilization effects, were evaluated and the three most effective adaptive measures were examined. Compared with the yield for the baseline time of 1981–2010, the simulated average yields of all cultivars were inevitably projected to decrease under both RCPs when the CO2 fertilization effects were not considered during the three periods of the 2020s (2011–2040), 2050s (2041–2070), and 2080s (2071–2099), respectively. Declines in rice yields were able to be alleviated when the CO2 fertilization effects were accounted for, but the yields were still lower than those of the baseline. Therefore, the three adaptive measures of advancing planting dates, switching to high-temperature-tolerant cultivars, and breeding new cultivars were simulated. The results indicated that adaptive measures could effectively mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Although the simulation had uncertainties and limitations, the results provide useful insights into the potential impacts of climate change in Zhejiang province while also proposing adaptive measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Crop Vulnerability to Weather and Climate Risk: Analysis of Interacting Systems and Adaptation Efficacy for Sustainable Crop Production
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236619 - 23 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change is increasing mean and extreme temperatures in the Southwestern United States, leading to a suite of changes affecting agricultural production. These include changes in water, soils, pathogens, weeds, and pests comprising the production environment. The aim of this synthesis is to [...] Read more.
Climate change is increasing mean and extreme temperatures in the Southwestern United States, leading to a suite of changes affecting agricultural production. These include changes in water, soils, pathogens, weeds, and pests comprising the production environment. The aim of this synthesis is to describe the anticipated leading agricultural pressures and adaptive responses, many of which are near-term actions with longer-term consequences. In the semiarid Southwestern United States, climate change is expected to increase water scarcity. Surface water shortage is the leading reason for recent diminished crop yields in the Southwest. Drought and lack of water represent the leading regional weather-related cause of crop loss from 1989 to 2017. Thus, water scarcity has been and will continue to be a critical factor leading to regional crop vulnerability. Soils, pathogens, weeds, and insects are components of the agricultural production environment and are directly influenced by near-term weather and long-term climate conditions. Field crops, vegetable crops, and perennial crops have unique production requirements and diverse management options, many already used in farm management, to cope with production environment changes to build climate resilience. Farmers and ranchers continuously respond to changing conditions on a near-term basis. Long-term planning and novel adaptation measures implemented may now build nimble and responsive systems and communities able to cope with future conditions. While decision-support tools and resources are providing increasingly sophisticated approaches to cope with production in the 21st century, we strive to keep pace with the cascading barrage of inter-connected agricultural challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
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