Are federal land managers ready and SET for stewarding ecological transformation?

Are federal land managers ready and SET for stewarding ecological transformation?

Organizer: 
Gregor W Schuurman
National Park Service
Time Slot: 
Working Groups and Trainings 1
Session Type: 
Working Group
Abstract: 

Global change-driven ecological transformations on federal lands increasingly challenge traditional resource management approaches and paradigms. In this rapidly changing world where managers often have limited ability to control ultimate drivers or resist/reverse ecological responses, longstanding concepts of historical range of variability (HRV) and naturalness are less and less useful for decision making. Managers in this ‘brave new world’ face difficult choices and important opportunities to influence ecological trajectories at local, regional, and continental scales, as they work along a management spectrum from resisting, to accepting, to actively directing ecological change. What a natural resource manager seeking to work with change most fundamentally lacks, however, are goals and objectives that are more specific and realistic than naturalness, HRV, and biodiversity conservation. Managers need clear concepts and training in stewarding ecological transformation (SET), and mechanisms to coordinate transformation management across agencies and management units. The SET working group (composed of representatives from federal land management agencies, plus the USGS) is working to help federal land managers understand, plan for, and respond to ecological transformation – based on the best available science – to maximize conservation of species, ecosystems, and ecosystem services. We intend to develop concepts, frameworks, and training opportunities to help managers navigate the “who, why, where, when, how, and what” of SET and coordinate transformation stewardship across scales. NAF-2019 is an important opportunity to share these preliminary products with a broader audience in a participatory session; we want to hear from you about where we should be going.

Co-organizers:

Dawn Magness, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Gregor W Schuurman, National Park Service