Climate Change Projected to Take Huge Toll on Oregon-California Wildlands

The Klamath-Siskiyou along the Oregon-California border is one of the wildest regions remaining on the U.S. West Coast. World-class biodiversity, stunning wild rivers, and an incredible eight million acres of public lands are spread across the eleven million-acre region. Due to the diversity of plants and animals in the region and its central location between the Sierra, Cascade, and Coastal Mountains, this region may act as a refuge for nature in a changing climate.

Like many regions, the “KS” is already feeling significant impacts from global climate change. Yet, there are important steps we can take to ensure that the forests, rivers, and wildlife in this region survive in a changing climate. Reducing carbon emissions is essential to reduce the overall magnitude of impacts from climate change. Even so, many of the effects are already here and we must adapt. Protecting the region’s natural systems requires the concerted efforts of public land managers and engaged residents from across the region. This report draws on expert research on the likely impacts of climate change and summarizes the most critical efforts we can take to ensure continued diversity and resilience of our natural systems in a changing climate.

 

Climate change is happening in the Klamath-Siskiyou now and will get much worse.

Temperatures are already up 3.5° and summers could increase another 15° by 2080.
By 2080, the Klamath-Siskiyou (KS) could have negligible snowpack and the Rogue Valley could have a climate like Sacramento.

 

The KS is a critical landscape that must be protected from climate change.

The wildest landscape remaining on the U.S. West Coast, the KS includes eight million acres of public land across eleven million acres total. Land management choices made by federal land managers at the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are critical to protecting the region from climate change.

 

To prepare for climate change, we must reduce the stress on important landscapes.

In the KS, some of the stressors that need to be reduced include:

 

  • Logging of old forests
  • Livestock overgrazing
  • Dams
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Erosion from roads
  • Coastal development
  • Air and water pollution
  • Loss of key species
  • Invasive species
  • Floodplain development
  • Over-allocation of water Post-fire logging

Certain places and habitats in the KS function best as refuges from climate change.

Since at least the last ice age, special places in the KS have been refuges from natural changes to the climate. The most important places deserve special protection to help species survive climate change in the coming decades.

They include the following:

  • Old-growth and mature forests
  • Roadless areas
  • Corridors that connect protected landscapes
  • Cold rivers and streams
  • Forested areas that span multiple elevations
  • Forested canyons
  • North and northeast facing slopes
  • Coastal forests

Read the full report here at KS Wild.

 

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