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University of Washington

1. Littlefield, Caitlin Emily. Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies.

Degree: PhD, 2019, University of Washington

As the planet warms, conservation planners and natural resource managers are seeking ways to help species and ecosystems adapt to climatic changes and shifting disturbance regimes. For example, enhancing landscape connectivity may support species’ movements to track suitable climatic conditions, and promoting regeneration after disturbance (e.g., wildfire) may ensure robust system recovery. But understanding where and when to implement these climate-change adaptation strategies requires a nuanced understanding of how species and ecosystems respond to climatic variability in time and space. In my dissertation, I address this need through two major projects, complementing each research effort with a conceptual review of the state of the science and future frontiers. First, I mapped key areas likely to facilitate climate-driven species’ movements across western North America by linking historic and future climate analogs. My results suggest that not including climate projections in connectivity models (i.e., basing connectivity solely on human modification of the landscape) or simplifying the temporal resolution of climatic changes may overestimate species movement and miss critical pathways. Second, I examined how contemporary climatic variability constrains post-fire recovery a decade after stand-replacing wildfire on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades. Juvenile conifer establishment and growth patterns reflected the convergence of ecological, physiographic, and climatic influences operating at multiple spatial and temporal scales, but adequate seed delivery and benign post-fire climatic conditions were key factors in ensuring relatively robust recovery across topographic settings. However, these facilitative factors may diminish as climate change unfolds. Both of these projects—modeling connectivity for climate-driven movements and uncovering the spatio-temporal patterns of post-fire recovery—may help planners and managers to prioritize where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies in an uncertain future. Advisors/Committee Members: Lawler, Joshua J (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: climate adaptation; connectivity; forest ecology; regeneration; Ecology; Conservation biology; Forestry; Forestry

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Littlefield, C. E. (2019). Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Washington. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1773/43387

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Littlefield, Caitlin Emily. “Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Washington. Accessed March 20, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/1773/43387.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Littlefield, Caitlin Emily. “Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies.” 2019. Web. 20 Mar 2019.

Vancouver:

Littlefield CE. Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Washington; 2019. [cited 2019 Mar 20]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/43387.

Council of Science Editors:

Littlefield CE. Landscape connectivity and recovery from disturbance: understanding where and when to implement climate-change adaptation strategies. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Washington; 2019. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/43387

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