We Are Working Closely With the Reality of Climate Change

The effects of a changing climate on our southern forest resources are becoming more readily apparent.  Hotter, drier weather and more catastrophic weather events are leading to stressed trees and ecosystems. While there have always been threats to forests including pest outbreaks, fire and drought, unprecedented changes in climate in the last few decades are exacerbating these forest threats. Overall, this means that forestry practices will need to be updated to respond to these new challenges in order to be “climate-smart.” Southern Regional Extension Forestry staff and our land-grant partners are developing programs that focus on “climate-smart” forestry practices. 

The Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP- www.pinemap.org) was developed to help forest landowners adapt their management approaches to increase forest resilience in the face of changing climate. Other goals include increasing the efficiency of fertilizers and increasing carbon sequestration. PINEMAP focuses on the 20 million acres of planted pine forests managed by private landowners across the southeastern U.S. PINEMAP includes research on silviculture, genetics, economics and then ‘modeling’, which will use all of the other research to create programs usable for planning forest management.

SREF, with its focus on regional forestry extension across the southeast, was uniquely positioned to partner to contribute to PINEMAP’s extension group. The PINEMAP extension team has started and will continue to develop a range of educational programs (workshops, webinars, factsheets and more), to meet the educational needs of southeastern foresters and to disseminate the latest research from the project and create “climate-smart” forest managers. For more information, please go to www.pinemap.org, or email Leslie Boby, lboby@sref.info.

SREF also works closely with several other groups and initiatives on forestry/natural resource issues and climate change. One emerging initiative is the Climate Science Initiative (CSI) and is being spearheaded by a national organization known as the Association for Natural Resource Professionals (ANREP- http://www.anrep.org). The CSI group is a nationwide effort to develop and train extension agents in advanced climate science, ways to mitigate climate change effects and act as resources for their communities. 

SREF is also partnering with the US Forest Service to assist with technology transfer surrounding The Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Mitigation Options or TACCIMO project (http://www.sgcp.ncsu.edu:8090). TACCIMO is a web-based platform allows users to access thousands of peer-reviewed science journal articles on forest management and threats, by searching for keywords. 

Partnering with innovative projects and efforts helps SREF stay on the cutting edge of the latest research, tools and initiatives and ensures that we will continue to provide relevant Extension products. 

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