Bodega Marine Laboratory/Reserve
February 08-10, 2019
Science Program Lead, Pacific West Region
National Park Service
Sarah is the Science Program Lead for the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service and Research Coordinator for the Californian Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, located at UC Berkeley. She addresses emerging and complex land/seascape level concerns of a changing environment in parks across the region, including California. Environmental changes challenge managers to be informed by and to inform the public of the science behind decisions. To provide the best available science to managers, Sarah leverages and facilitates researchers and their students to conduct research in and adjacent to parks.
Stewardship through science for public lands
National Parks and other public lands are entrusted with the stewardship of some of the nation’s most important and vulnerable natural and cultural resources. In the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service (NPS), stewardship spans the Pacific Ocean, from the National Park of American Samoa and rare coral reefs, to Hawaii Volcanoes NP and recent active volcano eruptions, to Olympic National Park and large-scale riverine restoration, to Yosemite National Park and mega wildfires, to Channel Islands National Park and biologically diverse kelp forests. Some National Parks are experiencing high rates of ecological change, and research with partners such as the University of California and its Natural Reserve System are informing park managers how ecosystems are changing, what is at risk, and the uncertainty of future changes. Rather than looking back in time to guide resource stewardship, parks face unchartered land- and seascapes, which require new ways to imagine and plan future stewardship strategies.
Dean, College of Natural Resources
David Ackerly is Dean of the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. Ackerly’s research group studies the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in California, and the implications for conservation and land management. He co-leads the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3). TBC3—a Berkeley-Pepperwood collaboration—has helped developed high resolution projections for future climate in California, across a range of possible scenarios, and the group works with land managers, NGOs, state agencies and the National Park Service to consider new approaches to manage vegetation in the face of changing conditions. His lab group is currently studying forest recovery following the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma Co. Ackerly also helps lead the Climate Readiness Institute, a group of Berkeley researchers focusing on climate impacts and challenges in the Bay Area. Ackerly is the coordinating lead author of the Bay Area Regional Report for California’s Fourth Climate Assessment.
Fire, climate change, and the future of California’s forests
Tune in to the news in California and you’re likely to hear about yet another wildfire somewhere in the state, forcing people from their homes and threatening their lives. The fires burn through forests and shrublands, leaving a scorched landscape. But if you return a few years later, you’ll see hillsides covered in lush growth with oaks and other hardwoods resprouting and the dead trunks of burned trees poking through to the sky. Fire has been a part of California’s ecosystems for millions of years; our native flora is adapted to recover and regrow. However, a changing climate and decades of our own well-intentioned practices are leading to larger and more intense fires. This talk will examine the history of fire, the responses of native ecosystems, and projections for the coming century.