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Mapping the future: U.S. exposure to multiple landscape stressors

Author(s): Marie Oliver, Becky K. Kerns, John Kim, Jeffrey D. Kline
Year Published: 2017

Landscape exposure to multiple stressors can pose risks to human health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Attempts to study, control, or mitigate these stressors can strain public and private budgets. An interdisciplinary team of Pacific Northwest Research Station and Oregon State University scientists created maps of the conterminous United States that indicate landscape exposure to concentrated wildfire potential, insects and disease risk, urban and exurban development, and climate change. The maps, which show where these stressors might occur and overlap, provide a valuable resource for regional and national land use, land management, and policymaking efforts by helping to guide resource prioritization.

The researchers identified locations where each stressor is more prevalent on the landscape relative to other locations, and then combined future climate projections from 30 separate global circulation models to establish a climate change metric. The climate change metric represents when the average annual temperature is projected to permanently depart from the prevailing climate of the past century under a “business as usual” scenario. The goal was to identify large contiguous areas of stress exposure—locations that may be vulnerable to ecological and social disruption.

This information has been used in Oregon, for example, to inform discussions about urban expansion and fire risk around the City of Bend.

Citation: Oliver, Marie; Kerns, Becky; Kim, John; Kline, Jeff. 2017. Mapping the future: U.S. exposure to multiple landscape stressors. Science Findings 197. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 15285
Record updated: Jun 25, 2018