The coming years and decades will see increasingly rapid environmental change with dramatic ecological and societal consequences. Anthropogenic processes, including global warming, species translocations, land use changes, biogeochemical alterations, and harvesting of wild populations, will interact with natural geophysical, ecological, and biogeochemical processes in ways that remain partially understood. Novel climates, ecosystems, and landscape configurations will arise, requiring both scientists and decision-makers to think outside the conventional envelopes of past experience, historical states, and resource-management practices.
Science-informed management, policy, and planning decisions are needed in the face of these mounting challenges. Natural-resource managers and policymakers want to make sound decisions using the best available information, and most are under direct mandate to do so. Reciprocally, ecologists and other scientists have a strong desire to contribute directly to policy and management decisions. However, researchers and natural-resource decision-makers comprise different cultures, and dialogues between them can result in misunderstanding and miscommunication.
The SW CASC has initiated several efforts designed to improve opportunities for and enhance approaches for effectively delivering actionable climate science to stakeholders and decision-makers in the Southwest and beyond.