Assessing Future Ecosystem Services From Managed Native American Forests

Key ecosystem services examined in this study include carbon stock and flow (regulating service), water availability (provisioning services), and woody biomass for commercial utilization (provisioning services) and for traditional heating and building materials (cultural service).

 

Critical ecosystem services from dry western forest agroecosystems face threats but alternative management practices on Native American lands may enhance future ecosystem resilience and ecosystem services. In partnership with two tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, we will test future management scenarios to enhance future ecosystem services. In partnership with tribal managers, we will select representative landscapes for modeling with existing and new data. We will apply the Climate-Forest Vegetation Simulator model and post-processors. Alternatives based on manager input include silvicultural manipulation, fire use, and assisted migration. Climate scenarios are based on internationally applied, downscaled models. Key ecosystem services include carbon stock and flow (regulating service), water availability (provisioning services), and woody biomass for commercial utilization (provisioning services) and for traditional heating and building materials (cultural service). Economic values of managing for ecosystem resilience and adaptability under new climate conditions will be evaluated in terms of overall expected values of ecosystem services. Three graduate students will be recruited from tribal communities. Outputs include high-impact peer-reviewed articles and multiple presentations to scientists, managers, tribal members, and K-12 schoolchildren.

The objectives for this study are:

  1. Identify unique characteristics of forest, fuel, and fire regime on Native lands to initialize modeling;
  2. Simulate future forest characteristics under alternative scenarios of current and modified management systems, climate, and disturbance;
  3. Assess future stocks and flows of ecosystem services and values of managing for ecosystem resilience; and
  4. Draw implications for adaptive management strategies.