Resilience Research

Publication Highlights

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Year Publication Authors Description
2022 Adaptation, Transformation and Resilience in Healthcare Comment on" Government Actions and Their Relation to Resilience in Healthcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic in New South David G Angeler, Harris A Eyre, Michael Berk, Craig R Allen, William Hynes, Igor Linkov This commentary discusses adaptation and transformation as two complementary, integral components of resilience and applies them to healthcare. We treat resilience as an emergent property of complex systems that accounts for multiple, often disparately distinct regimes in which multiple processes (eg, adaptation, recovery) are subsumed and operate.
2022 Applications and Diffusion of Panarchy Theory Lance H Gunderson, Craig R Allen, Ahjond Garmestani I made my most recent fundamental discovery almost twenty long years ago, and yet still I muse about its meaning and significance. I called it the lumpy world, because I was testing a Panarchy hypothesis that implied that all ecosystems, and indeed all the living and non-living components of the planet, had to be organized in distinct lumps across scales from small and fast to big and slow. The panarchy hypothesis still exists as a fruitful way to explore structure and patterns and their significance. That language using the word lumps is all right as a crude statistical descriptor. But what I see, hear and feel and intuit needs poetic imagery. The lumpy world really lays out the patterns or frequencies of rhythms whose structures coalesce into whirling patterns of evolutionary creation where elements emerge and prosper, then collapse and renew. Lumps as rhythms creates a kind of music above all... and each system has its own distinctive tune.—CS (Buzz) Holling (2017)
2022 Applications of Spatial Regimes Craig R Allen, David G Angeler, Ahjond Garmestani, Caleb P Roberts, Shana M Sundstrom, Dirac Twidwell, Dan R Uden This chapter reviews linkages between spatial regimes and panarchy in four parts. We begin with a definition of spatial regimes and how they are bounded. The second section presents methods for identifying spatial regimes. The third section discusses the application of spatial regime concepts to management. We conclude with a discussion of challenges associated with applications of this facet of panarchy theory.
2022 Applied Panarchy: Applications and Diffusion Across Disciplines Lance H Gunderson, Craig Reece Allen, Ahjond Garmestani After a decades-long economic slump, the city of Flint, Michigan, struggled to address chronic issues of toxic water supply, malnutrition, and food security gaps among its residents. A community-engaged research project proposed a resilience assessment that would use panarchy theory to move the city toward a more sustainable food system. Flint is one of many examples that demonstrates how panarchy theory is being applied to understand and influence change in complex human-natural systems.
2022 Guiding Principles for Using Satellite-derived Maps in Rangeland Management Brady W Allred, Megan K Creutzburg, John C Carlson, Christopher J Cole, Colin M Dovichin, Michael C Duniway, Matthew O Jones, Jeremy D Maestas, David E Naugle, Travis W Nauman, Gregory S Okin, Matthew C Reeves, Matthew Rigge, Shannon L Savage, Dirac Twidwell, Daniel R Uden, Bo Zhou Rangeland management has entered a new era with the accessibility and advancement of satellite-derived maps. Maps provide a comprehensive view of rangelands in space and time, and challenge us to think critically about natural variability. Here, we advance the practice of using satellite-derived maps with four guiding principles designed to increase end user confidence and thereby accessibility of these data for decision-making.
2022 Mapping Panarchy to Improve Visualization of Complex Environmental Change Dirac Twidwell, Daniel R Uden, Caleb P Roberts, Brady W Allred, Matthew O Jones, David E Naugle, Craig R Allen Panarchy has served as a mental model that describes changes in complex, dynamic systems of people and nature over time (Gunderson and Holling 2002). A next step for advancing panarchy theory is to empirically map complex system dynamics both across space and through time. Mapping panarchy provides opportunities to ground the concept, make it more tractable, and facilitate exploration of the spatial interdependencies of resilience, regime shifts, and cross-scale change. In this chapter, we apply data from environmental monitoring and spatial imaging technologies to map and visualize aspects of panarchy.
2022 Measuring the Social and Ecological Performance of Agricultural Innovations on Rangelands: Progress and Plans for an Indicator Framework in the LTAR Network S Spiegal, NP Webb, EH Boughton, RK Boughton, A Bentley Brymer, PE Clark, CD Holifield Collins, DL Hoover, N Kaplan, SE McCord, G Meredith, L Porensky, D Toledo, H Wilmer, JD Wulfhorst, BT Bestelmeyer Ranchers and land managers have long aspired to advance both livestock production and natural resource conservation on rangelands. At the same time, most recognize that no management approach perfectly maximizes both outcomes. Overall, an accurate understanding of the co-benefits and tradeoffs among goals is needed for optimal decision-making about management options.
2022 Panarchy, Cross-Scale Resilience, and Discontinuous Structures and Processes Shana M Sundstrom, Craig R Allen, David G Angeler When CS Holling published his seminal article on ecological resilience in 1973 (Holling 1973), it is unlikely he anticipated that by 2020, more than 80,000 articles would be published on resilience (Web of Science topic search). Resilience science has transformed ecology and other fields by expanding our understanding of system dynamics and behavior away from a reductionist view of ecosystems as operating on a single, fixed attractor with equilibrium dynamics and linear behavior to a complex system view that embraces nonlinear change and multiple regimes.
2022 Panarchy: Nature’s Rules Lance H Gunderson, Ahjond Garmestani, Craig R Alle Contagious processes such as pandemics, fires, and political uprisings cover wide ranges of scales. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scale range spanned from the molecular (virus) to the planet. Studies of episodic crises (such as pandemics) and their relationship to crossscale, nonlinear dynamics of ecological processes in natural resource systems led to the conceptualization and articulation of panarchy theory (Gunderson et al. 1995; Gunderson and Holling 2002; Cosens and Gunderson 2018).
2022 Scales of Coercion: Resilience, Regimes, and Panarchy David G Angeler, Craig R Allen The Anthropocene is the current geologic epoch in Earth’s history and is characterized by human domination of biophysical processes at the planetary scale (Steffen et al. 2018). The ubiquitous influence of humans on planetary processes poses major challenges for the future trajectory of ecological and socialecological systems at subplanetary scales (Rockström et al. 2009). A primary concern is that these human activities will lead to crossing one or more known, or unknown, critical thresholds, resulting in regime shifts at the local, regional, and global levels (Hughes et al. 2013).
2022 Tracking Spatial Regimes as an Early Warning for a Species of Conservation Concern Caleb P Roberts, Daniel R Uden, Samantha M Cady, Brady Allred, Samuel Fuhlendorf, Matthew O Jones, Jeremy D Maestas, David Naugle, Andrew C Olsen, Joseph Smith, Jason Tack, Dirac Twidwell In this era of global environmental change and rapid regime shifts, managing core areas that species require to survive and persist is a grand challenge for conservation. Wildlife monitoring data are often limited or local in scale. The emerging ability to map and track spatial regimes (i.e., the spatial manifestation of state transitions) using advanced geospatial vegetation data has the potential to provide earlier warnings of habitat loss because many species of conservation concern strongly avoid spatial regime boundaries.
2022 Tracking Spatial Regimes in Animal Communities: Implications for Resilience-based Management Caleb P Roberts, Daniel R Uden, Craig R Allen, David G Angeler, Larkin A Powell, Brady W Allred, Matthew O Jones, Jeremy D Maestas, Dirac Twidwell Spatial regimes (the spatial extents of ecological states) exhibit strong spatiotemporal order as they expand or contract in response to retreating or encroaching adjacent spatial regimes (e.g., woody plant invasion of grasslands) and human management (e.g., fire treatments). New methods enable tracking spatial regime boundaries via vegetation landcover data, and this approach is being used for strategic management across biomes
Year Publication Authors Description
2021 Adaptive Fuel Procurement in Nineteenth-Century Great Plains Landscapes Daniel R Uden, David J Wishart, Larkin A Powell, Craig R Allen, Rob B Mitchell, Gerry Steinaue Three forms of herbaceous biomass - forage (undigested), buffalo chips (partially digested) and pemmican (metabolized) - were associated with ubiquity of prairie vegetation and bison, whereas woody biomass was a rarer fuel largely restricted to lowlands and decreasing from east to west. Amidst transformational waves of colonisation in dynamic environments, seasonal strategies for securing energy locally were supplanted by strategies of fuel storage and importation. All fuel-based adaptations had social-ecological causes and consequences and, in nineteenth century plains landscapes, colonisation facilitated rapid, cross-cultural exchanges of fuel sources, technologies, strategies for increasing energy access and human environmental influences that collectively shaped regional environmental history.
2021 Challenges of Brush Management Treatment Effectiveness in Southern Great Plains, United States Rheinhardt Scholtz, Samuel D Fuhlendorf, Daniel R Uden, Brady W Allred, Matthew O Jones, David E Naugle, Dirac Twidwell Woodland expansion is a global challenge documented under varying degrees of disturbance, climate, and land ownership patterns. In North American rangelands, mechanical and chemical brush management practices and prescribed fire are frequently promoted by agencies and used by private landowners to reduce woody plant cover. We assess the distribution of agency-supported cost sharing of brush management (2000−2017) in the southern Great Plains, United States, and evaluate the longevity of treatment application. We test the general expectation that the current brush management paradigm in the southern Great Plains reduces woody plants and conserves rangeland resources at broad scales.
2021 Collapse, Reorganization, and Regime Identity: Breaking Down Past Management Paradigms in a Forest-Grassland Ecotone Victoria Donovan, Caleb Roberts, Carissa Wonkka, Daniel Uden, David Angeler, Craig Allen, David Wedin, Rhae Drijber, Dirac Twidwell The identity of an ecological regime is central to modern resilience theory and our understanding of how systems collapse and reorganize following disturbance. However, resilience-based models used in ecosystem management have been criticized for their failure to integrate disturbance outcomes into regime identity. Assessments are needed to understand how well these classifications represent ecosystem responses that occur over management relevant time scales. We tracked post-wildfire forest and grassland dynamics 27 years after wildfire in eastern ponderosa pine savanna. We tested for differences between the assigned identity of a site (forest or grassland) versus classifications based on the site's disturbance history (burned/unburned and fire severity)
2021 Fire Suppression and Ignition with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Carrick Detweiler, Sebastian Elbaum, James Higgins, Christian Laney, Craig Allen, Dirac Twidwell, Evan Michael Beachly An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be configured for fire suppression and ignition. In some examples, the UAV includes an aerial propulsion system, an ignition system, and a control system. The ignition system includes a container of delayed-ignition balls and a dropper configured, by virtue of one or more motors, to actuate and drop the delayed-ignition balls. The control system is configured to cause the UAV to fly to a site of a prescribed burn and, while flying over the site of the prescribed burn, actuate one or more of the delayed-ignition balls. After actuating the one or more delayed-ignition balls, the UAV drops the actuated one or more delayed-ignition balls from the UAV onto the site of the prescribed burn
2021 Generalist Bird Exhibits Site‐dependent Resource Selection Samantha M Cady, Craig A Davis, Samuel D Fuhlendorf, Rheinhardt Scholtz, Daniel R Uden, Dirac Twidwell Quantifying resource selection (an organism's disproportionate use of available resources) is essential to infer habitat requirements of a species, develop management recommendations, predict species responses to changing conditions, and improve our understanding of the processes that underlie ecological patterns. Because study sites, even within the same region, can differ in both the amount and the arrangement of cover types, our objective was to determine whether proximal sites can yield markedly different resource selection results for a generalist bird, northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). We used 5 years of telemetry locations and newly developed land cover data at two, geographically distinct but relatively close sites in the south-central semi-arid prairies of North America. We fit a series of generalized linear mixed models and used an information-theoretic model comparison approach to identify and compare resource selection patterns at each site.
2021 Grasslands And Forests In Nebraska Are Vulnerable To Tree Invasion From Roadsides Katharine FE Hogan, Dillon T Fogarty, Hugh Ellerman, Christopher T Fill, Daniel Morales, Baxter Seguin, Daniel R Uden, Craig R Allen Roadsides can be vectors for tree invasion within grasslands by bisecting landscapes and facilitating propagule spread to interior habitat. Current invasive tree management in North America’s Great Plains focuses on reducing on-site (ie, interior habitat) vulnerability through on-site prevention and eradication, but invasive tree management of surrounding areas known to serve as invasion vectors, such as roadsides and public rights-of-ways, is sporadic. We surveyed roadsides for invasive tree propagule sources in a southeastern Nebraska grassland landscape to determine how much of the surrounding landscape is potentially vulnerable to roadside invasion, and by which species, and thereby, provide insights into the locations and forms of future landcover change.
2021 Improving Landsat Predictions of Rangeland Fractional Cover with Multitask Learning and Uncertainty Brady W Allred, Brandon T Bestelmeyer, Chad S Boyd, Christopher Brown, Kirk W Davies, Michael C Duniway, Lisa M Ellsworth, Tyler A Erickson, Samuel D Fuhlendorf, Timothy V Griffiths, Vincent Jansen, Matthew O Jones, Jason Karl, Anna Knight, Jeremy D Maestas, Jonathan J Maynard, Sarah E McCord, David E Naugle, Heath D Starns, Dirac Twidwell, Daniel R Uden Operational satellite remote sensing products are transforming rangeland management and science. Advancements in computation, data storage and processing have removed barriers that previously blocked or hindered the development and use of remote sensing products. When combined with local data and knowledge, remote sensing products can inform decision-making at multiple scales. We used temporal convolutional networks to produce a fractional cover product that spans western United States rangelands. We trained the model with 52,012 on-the-ground vegetation plots to simultaneously predict fractional cover for annual forbs and grasses, perennial forbs and grasses, shrubs, trees, litter and bare ground. To assist interpretation and to provide a measure of prediction confidence, we also produced spatiotemporal-explicit, pixel-level estimates of uncertainty. We evaluated the model with 5,780 on-the-ground vegetation plots removed from the training data.
2021 Integrating Human Dimensions Within the LTAR Network to Achieve Agroecological System Transformation Gwendŵr Meredith, Alycia Bean, Amanda Bentley Brymer, Claire Friedrichsen, Zach Hurst Agroecosystem research often focuses on biophysical processes and productivity without incorporating human dimensions research and/or stakeholder engagement. Connecting individual and community well-being to agro-innovation research is required for agro-ecological transformation to sustainable intensification.
2021 Iterative Scenarios for Social-Ecological Systems Dustin Herrmann, Kirsten Schwarz, Craig Allen, David Angeler, Tarsha Eason, Ahjond Garmestani Managing social-ecological systems toward desirable regimes requires learning about the system being managed while preparing for many possible futures. Adaptive management (AM) and scenario planning (SP) are two systems management approaches that separately use learning to reduce uncertainties and employ planning to manage irreducible uncertainties, respectively. However, each of these approaches have limitations that confound management of social-ecological systems. Here, we introduce iterative scenarios (IS), a systems management approach that is a hybrid of the scopes and relationships to uncertainty and controllability of AM and SP that combines the "iterativeness" of AM and futures planning of SP.
2021 Management Innovations for Resilient Public Rangelands: Adoption Constraints and Considerations for Interagency Diffusion Gwendŵr R Meredith, Mark W Brunson, Stuart P Hardegree Maintaining healthy rangeland ecosystems requires adaptive co-management at the landscape scale. Because the majority of western rangelands are publicly owned, it is critical that federal land management agencies work together in generating and sharing information. Two rangeland management innovations, the Weather-Centric Restoration Tool and Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health, were studied in order to better understand agency adoption decisions and barriers to diffusion of the innovations across agencies.
2021 Monitoring for Spatial Regimes in Rangelands Caleb P Roberts, Victoria M Donovan, Craig R Allen, David G Angeler, Chris Helzer, David Wedin, Dirac Twidwell In rangelands, monitoring spatial regime boundaries (i.e., boundaries between ecological states) could provide early warnings of state transitions, elucidate the spatial nature of state transitions, and quantify management outcomes. Here, we test the ability of established regime shift detection methods and traditional, local-scale rangeland monitoring data to identify spatial regime boundaries in a complex rangeland system. We collected plant community composition data via point-intercept sampling at 400 evenly-spaced locations along a 4000m transect
2021 Overcoming an “irreversible” Threshold: A 15-year Fire Experiment Christine H Bielski, Rheinhardt Scholtz, Victoria M Donovan, Craig R Allen, Dirac Twidwell This study uses a unique, long-term experimental fire landscape co-dominated by grassland and closed-canopy juniper woodland to determine whether extreme fire can shift a juniper woodland regime back to grassland dominance using aboveground herbaceous biomass as an indicator of regime identity. We use a space-for-time substitute to quantify herbaceous biomass following extreme fire in juniper woodland up to 15 years post-fire and compare these with (i) 15 years of adjacent grassland recovery post-fire, (ii) unburned closed-canopy juniper woodland reference sites and (iii) unburned grassland reference sites. Our results show grassland dominance rapidly emerges following fires that operate above typical fire intensity thresholds, indicating that grassland-juniper woodlands regimes are hysteretic rather than irreversible.
2021 Panarchy and Management of Lake Ecosystems David Angeler, Craig Allen, Ahjond Garmestani, Lance Gunderson, Richard Johnso In this study we compared the physicochemical environment of managed (limed) and minimally disturbed reference lakes and used time series modeling and correlation analyses to test the premises of panarchy theory: (1) that both lake types show dynamic structure at multiple temporal scales, (2) that this structure differs between lake types due to liming interacting with the natural disturbance regime of lakes, and (3) that liming manifests across temporal scales due to cross-scale connectivity.
2021 Predicting Non-native Insect Impact: Focusing on the Trees to see the Forest Ashley N Schulz, Angela M Mech, Matthew P Ayres, Kamal JK Gandhi, Nathan P Havill, Daniel A Herms, Angela M Hoover, Ruth A Hufbauer, Andrew M Liebhold, Travis D Marsico, Kenneth F Raffa, Patrick C Tobin, Daniel R Uden, Kathryn A Thomas Non-native organisms have invaded novel ecosystems for centuries, yet we have only a limited understanding of why their impacts vary widely from minor to severe. Predicting the impact of non-established or newly detected species could help focus biosecurity measures on species with the highest potential to cause widespread damage. However, predictive models require an understanding of potential drivers of impact and the appropriate level at which these drivers should be evaluated. Here, we used non-native, specialist herbivorous insects of forest ecosystems to test which factors drive impact and if there were differences based on whether they used woody angiosperms or conifers as hosts
2021 Resilience of Working Agricultural Landscapes Shana M Sundstrom, Jennifer Hodbod, Craig R Allen Many alternative agricultural approaches have been developed as a response to the social and ecological costs of modern industrialized agriculture. These include diversified, organic, sustainably intensified, and ecologically intensified farming systems, each of which addresses different aspects of agriculture as a social-ecological system. However, clear theoretical models that account for human-nature coupling and the importance of scale are lacking.
2021 Roost Use and Movements of Northern Long-Eared Bats in a Southeast Nebraska Agricultural Landscape Christopher T Fill, Craig R Allen, John F Benson, Dirac Twidwell Bats are important bio-indicators of ecosystem health and provide a number of ecosystem services. White-nose Syndrome and habitat loss have led to the decline of many bat species in eastern North America, including the federally threatened northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis. White-nose Syndrome was only recently found in Nebraska, which lies on the western extent of this species geographic range. To better understand how this forest-dependent species persists in an agriculturally dominated landscape amid a growing number of pressures, we investigated the roosting habits of this bat at the Homestead National Monument of America, located in southeast Nebraska. We mist-netted bats on eight nights in 2019 (16 August–26 August) and caught 55 bats across five species, including five juvenile northern long-eared bats.
2021 The Future of Social Science Integration in Rangelands Research Mark Brunson, Lynn Huntsinger, Gwendŵr Meredith, Nathan Sayre Applied research builds upon past scholarship to address the problems of the present in pursuit of a more enlightened future. To further that goal, range scientists periodically take stock of their collective work, assess how well that work meets current management challenges, and propose a research agenda that addresses crucial unanswered or emerging questions for sustainable rangeland stewardship. Here we focus on how the work of social scientists can become better integrated into rangeland research, with particular emphasis on advances that can be achieved through long-term agroecosystem research.
Year Publication Authors Description
2020 Agricultural Pests Consumed by Common Bat Species in the United States Corn Belt: The Importance of DNA Primer Choice Michael D Whitby, Troy J Kieran, Travis C Glenn, Craig Allen To meet growing global food demand, producers are actively searching for ways tocrop yield. One way to boost yield is to reduce arthropod damage. However, insecticides are becoming less effective and can have detrimental effects on human health and the environment. Learning how to harness natural pest control is one way to reduce arthropod damage to crops and avoid adverse effects of insecticide use. Therefore, we examined the diets of two bat species that are likely to provide pest control services across the United States corn belt: the eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus).
2020 Beyond Inventories: Emergence of a New Era in Rangeland Monitoring Matthew O Jones, David E Naugle, Dirac Twidwell, Daniel R Uden, Jeremy D Maestas, Brady W Allred In the absence of technology-driven monitoring platforms, US rangeland policies, management practices, and outcome assessments have been primarily informed by the extrapolation of local information from national-scale rangeland inventories. A persistent monitoring gap between plot-level inventories and the scale at which rangeland assessments are conducted has required decision makers to fill data gaps with statistical extrapolations or assumptions of homogeneity and equilibrium. This gap is now being bridged with spatially comprehensive, annual, rangeland monitoring data across all western US rangelands to assess vegetation conditions at a resolution appropriate to inform cross-scale assessments and decisions. In this paper, 20-yr trends in plant functional type cover are presented, confirming two widespread national rangeland resource concerns: widespread increases in annual grass cover and tree cover. Rangeland vegetation monitoring is now available to inform national to regional policies and provide essential data at the scales at which decisions are made and implemented.
2020 Coerced Regimes: Management Challenges in the Anthropocene David G Angeler, Brian C Chaffin, Shana M Sundstrom, Ahjond Garmestani, Kevin L Pope, Daniel R Uden, Dirac Twidwell, Craig R Allen We demonstrate the broad application of coerced regimes using distinct complex systems of humans and nature (human subjects, aquatic and terrestrial environments, agriculture, and global climate). We discuss commonalities and differences between these examples to identify tradeoffs between benefits and harms of management. The concept of coerced regimes can spur thinking and inform management about the duality of what we know and can envision versus what we do not know and therefore cannot envision—a pervasive sustainability conundrum as planet Earth swiftly moves towards a future without historical analogue.
2020 Continental Analysis of Invasive Birds: North America JL Burnett, CR Allen Caged-bird releases, intentional release for harvest and contiguous land mass encompassing numerous climate zones, ranging from tropical and wet to arctic tundra and taiga plains. The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) delineates 66 bird conservation regions, or regions with distinct biocontrol are among the most common reasons for bird intro-ductions to North America. Despite the estimated hundreds of species documented as introduced to North America, relatively few have successfully acclimatized/established and persisted.
2020 Extreme Fire as a Management Tool to Combat Regime Shifts in the Range of the Endangered American Burying Beetle Alison K Ludwig, Daniel R Uden, Dirac Twidwell This study is focused on the population of federally-endangered American burying beetles in south-central Nebraska. It is focused on changes in land cover over time and at several levels of spatial scale, and how management efforts are impacting both the beetle and a changing landscape. Our findings are applicable to a large portion of the Great Plains, which is undergoing the same shift from grassland to woodland, and to areas where the beetle is still found.
2020 Fire Legacies, Heterogeneity, and the Importance of Mixed-severity Fire in Ponderosa Pine Savannas Caleb P Roberts, Victoria M Donovan, Sarah M Nodskov, Emma B Keele, Craig R Allen, David A Wedin, Dirac Twidwell Globally, savanna ecosystems are shifting outside of “safe operating spaces” due to removal of their primary self-reinforcing feedback—fire—and subsequent erosion of disturbance legacies. Restoring savannas will require reinstating fire feedbacks. But knowledge gaps in the nature of historic fire regimes and how mechanisms such as time-since-fire and fire severity interact to produce disturbance legacies hinders development of ecologically relevant restoration targets. A theory-based approach for determining restoration targets is to compare structures produced by time-since-fire/fire severity interactions to structures that fostered animal communities that historically inhabited savannas. Here, we use a space-for-time substitution to quantify interactive effects of time-since-fire and fire severity on vegetation structures related to known animal community habitat preferences by surveying sites in 10-year-old and 27-year-old mixed-severity fires that occurred in an eastern ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) savanna where fire was excluded since European settlement
2020 Low Contribution of Rare Species to Resilience and Adaptive Capacity in Novel Spatial Regimes Arising from Biome Shifts Caused by Global Change David Angeler, Caleb Roberts, Dirac Twidwell, Craig Allen Human activity causes biome shifts that alter biodiversity and spatial resilience patterns, ultimately challenging conservation. Rare species, often considered vulnerable to change and endangered, can be a critical element of resilience by providing adaptive capacity in response to disturbances. However, little is known about changes in rarity and dominance patterns of communities once a biome transitions into a novel spatial regime, and how this affects conservation. We used time series modeling to identify species rarity and dominance patterns in an expanding terrestrial (southern) spatial regime in the North American Great Plains and another (northern) regime that will become encroached by the southern regime in the near future.
2020 Operationalizing the Concepts of Resilience and Resistance for Managing Ecosystems and Species at Risk Jeanne C Chambers, Craig R Allen, Samuel A Cushman Ecological resilience is essential for maintaining ecosystem services in an era of rapid global change, but successful attempts to operationalize it for managing ecosystems at risk have been limited. Clear formulation and application of ecological resilience concepts can guide ecosystem management so that it enhances the capacity of ecosystems to resist and recover from disturbances and provides adaptive space for periods of ecological reorganization.
2020 Panarchy: Opportunities and Challenges for Ecosystem Management Ahjond Garmestani, Dirac Twidwell, David G Angeler, Shana Sundstrom, Chris Barichievy, Brian C Chaffin, Tarsha Eason, Nick Graham, Dean Granholm, Lance Gunderson, Melinda Knutson, Kirsty L Nash, R John Nelson, Magnus Nystrom, Trisha L Spanbauer, Craig A Stow, Craig R Alle Addressing unexpected events and uncertainty represents one of the grand challenges of the Anthropocene, yet ecosystem management is constrained by existing policy and laws that were not formulated to deal with today's accelerating rates of environmental change. In many cases, managing for simple regulatory standards has resulted in adverse outcomes, necessitating innovative approaches for dealing with complex social–ecological problems. We highlight a project in the US Great Plains where panarchy – a conceptual framework that emerged from resilience – was implemented at project onset to address the continued inability to halt large-scale transition from grass-to-tree dominance in central North America. We review how panarchy was applied, the initial outcomes and evidence for policy reform, and the opportunities and challenges for which it could serve as a useful model to contrast with traditional ecosystem management approache
2020 Range-wide Monitoring of Population Trends for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Victoria M Donovan, Caleb P Roberts, Carissa L Wonkka, Jeffrey L Beck, Jesse N Popp, Craig R Allen, Dirac Twidwel Species conservation requires monitoring and management that extends beyond the local population, yet studies evaluating population trends and management outcomes across the spatial range of a species remain rare. We conducted the first range-wide assessment of population trends for the iconic Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis) of North America to investigate links between population trends and translocation history. Millions of US dollars have been spent translocating bighorn sheep to achieve conservation objectives, yet a range-wide assessment is lacking.
2020 Resilience to Large,‘Catastrophic’Wildfires in North America’s Grassland Biome Victoria M Donovan, Dirac Twidwell, Daniel R Uden, Tsegaye Tadesse, Brian D Wardlow, Christine H Bielski, Matthew O Jones, Brady W Allred, David E Naugle, Craig R Allen Wildfires are ecosystem-level drivers of structure and function in many vegetated biomes. While numerous studies have emphasized the benefits of fire to ecosystems, large wildfires have also been associated with the loss of ecosystem services and shifts in vegetation abundance. The size and number of wildfires are increasing across a number of regions, and yet the outcomes of large wildfire on vegetation at large-scales are still largely unknown. We introduce an exhaustive analysis of wildfire-scale vegetation response to large wildfires across North America's grassland biome. We use 18 years of a newly released vegetation data set combined with 1,390 geospatial wildfire perimeters and drought data to detect large-scale vegetation response among multiple vegetation functional groups.
2020 Scaling and Discontinuities in the Global Economy Shana M Sundstrom, Craig R Allen, David G Angeler Investigation of economies as complex adaptive systems may provide a deeper understanding of their behavior and response to perturbation. We use methodologies from ecology to test whether the global economy has discontinuous size distributions, a signature of multi-scale processes in complex adaptive systems, and we contrast the theoretical assumptions underpinning our methodology with that of the economic convergence club literature. Discontinuous distributions in complex systems consist of aggregations of similarly-sized entities, separated by gaps, in a pattern of non-random departures from a continuous or power law distribution.
2020 The Impact is in the Details: Evaluating a Standardized Protocol and Scale for Determining Non-native Insect Impact Ashley N Schulz, Angela M Mech, Craig R Allen, Matthew P Ayres, Kamal JK Gandhi, Jessica Gurevitch, Nathan P Havill, Daniel A Herms, Ruth A Hufbauer, Andrew M Liebhold, Kenneth F Raffa, Michael J Raupp, Kathryn A Thomas, Patrick C Tobin, Travis D Marsico Assessing the ecological and economic impacts of non-native species is crucial to providing managers and policymakers with the information necessary to respond effectively. Most non-native species have minimal impacts on the environment in which they are introduced, but a small fraction are highly deleterious. The definition of ‘damaging’or ‘high-impact’varies based on the factors determined to be valuable by an individual or group, but interpretations of whether non-native species meet particular definitions can be influenced by the interpreter’s bias or level of expertise, or lack of group consensus. Uncertainty or disagreement about an impact classification may delay or otherwise adversely affect policymaking on management strategies. One way to prevent these issues would be to have a detailed, nine-point impact scale that would leave little room for interpretation and then divide the scale into agreed upon categories, such as low, medium, and high impact.
2020 Woody Plant Encroachment and the Sustainability of Priority Conservation Areas Dillon T Fogarty, Caleb P Roberts, Daniel R Uden, Victoria M Donovan, Craig R Allen, David E Naugle, Matthew O Jones, Brady W Allred, Dirac Twidwel Woody encroachment is a global driver of grassland loss and management to counteract encroachment represents one of the most expensive conservation practices implemented in grasslands. Yet, outcomes of these practices are often unknown at large scales and this constrains practitioner’s ability to advance conservation. Here, we use new monitoring data to evaluate outcomes of grassland conservation on woody encroachment for Nebraska’s State Wildlife Action Plan, a statewide effort that targets management in Biologically Unique Landscapes (BULs) to conserve the state’s natural communities.
Year Publication Authors Description
2019 Evolutionary History Predicts High‐Impact Invasions by Herbivorous Insects Angela M Mech, Kathryn A Thomas, Travis D Marsico, Daniel A Herms, Craig R Allen, Matthew P Ayres, Kamal JK Gandhi, Jessica Gurevitch, Nathan P Havill, Ruth A Hufbauer, Andrew M Liebhold, Kenneth F Raffa, Ashley N Schulz, Daniel R Uden, Patrick C Tobin A long-standing goal of invasion biology is to identify factors driving highly variable impacts of non-native species. Although hypotheses exist that emphasize the role of evolutionary history (e.g., enemy release hypothesis & defense-free space hypothesis), predicting the impact of non-native herbivorous insects has eluded scientists for over a century. Using a census of all 58 non-native conifer-specialist insects in North America, we quantified the contribution of over 25 factors that could affect the impact they have on their novel hosts, including insect traits (fecundity, voltinism, native range, etc.), host traits (shade tolerance, growth rate, wood density, etc.), and evolutionary relationships (between native and novel hosts and insects). We discovered that divergence times between native and novel hosts, the shade and drought tolerance of the novel host, and the presence of a coevolved congener on a shared host, were more predictive of impact than the traits of the invading insect. These factors built upon each other to strengthen our ability to predict the risk of a non-native insect becoming invasive. This research is the first to empirically support historically assumed hypotheses about the importance of evolutionary history as a major driver of impact of non-native herbivorous insects. Our novel, integrated model predicts whether a non-native insect not yet present in North America will have a one in 6.5 to a one in 2,858 chance of causing widespread mortality of a conifer species if established (R2 = 0.91). Synthesis and applications. With this advancement, the risk to other conifer host species and regions can be assessed, and regulatory and pest management efforts can be more efficiently prioritized.
2019 Social-ecological Network Analysis for Sustainability Sciences: A Systematic Review and Innovative Research Agenda for the Future JS Sayles, M Mancilla Garcia, M Hamilton, SM Alexander, JA Baggio, AP Fischer, K Ingold, GR Meredith, J Pittman Social-ecological network (SEN) concepts and tools are increasingly used in human-environment and sustainability sciences. We take stock of this budding research area to further show the strength of SEN analysis for complex human-environment settings, identify future synergies between SEN and wider human-environment research, and provide guidance about when to use different kinds of SEN approaches and models. We characterize SEN research along a spectrum specifying the degree of explicit network representation of system components and dynamics. We then systematically review one end of this spectrum, what we term'fully articulated SEN'studies, which specifically model unique social and ecological units and relationships
2019 Spatial Imaging and Screening for Regime Shifts Daniel R Uden, Dirac Twidwell, Craig R Allen, Matthew O Jones, David E Naugle, Jeremy D Maestas, Brady W Allred Screening is a strategy for detecting undesirable change prior to manifestation of symptoms or adverse effects. Although the well-recognized utility of screening makes it commonplace in medicine, it has yet to be implemented in ecosystem management. Ecosystem management is in an era of diagnosis and treatment of undesirable change, and as a result, remains more reactive than proactive and unable to effectively deal with today's plethora of non-stationary conditions. In this paper, we introduce spatial imaging-based screening to ecology. We link advancements in spatial resilience theory, data, and technological and computational capabilities and power to detect regime shifts (i.e., vegetation state transitions) that are known to be detrimental to human well-being and ecosystem service delivery. With a state-of-the-art landcover dataset and freely available, cloud-based, geospatial computing platform, we screen for spatial signals of the three most iconic vegetation transitions studied in western USA rangelands: (1) erosion and desertification; (2) woody encroachment; and (3) annual exotic grass invasion.
Year Publication Authors Description
2018 A Framework for Tracing Social–Ecological Trajectories and Traps in Intensive Agricultural Landscapes Daniel R Uden, Craig R Allen, Francisco Munoz-Arriola, Gengxin Ou, Nancy Shank Charting trajectories toward sustainable agricultural development is an important goal at the food–energy–water–ecosystem services (FEWES) nexus of agricultural landscapes. Social–ecological adaptation and transformation are two broad strategies for adjusting and resetting the trajectories of productive FEWES nexuses toward sustainable futures. In some cases, financial incentives, technological innovations, and/or subsidies associated with the short-term optimization of a small number of resources create and strengthen unsustainable feedbacks between social and ecological entities at the FEWES nexus. These feedbacks form the basis of rigidity traps, which impede adaptation and transformation by locking FEWES nexuses into unsustainable trajectories characterized by control, stability, and efficiency, but also an inability to adapt to disturbances or changing conditions. To escape and avoid rigidity traps and enable sustainability-focused adaptation and transformation, a foundational understanding of FEWES nexuses and their unique trajectories and traps is required. We present a framework for tracing trajectories and traps at the FEWES nexuses of intensive agricultural landscapes. Framework implementation in a case study reveals feedbacks characteristic of rigidity traps, as well as opportunities for modifying and dissolving them. Such place-based understanding could inform sustainable agricultural development at the FEWES nexus of intensive agricultural landscapes worldwide.
2018 Climate Change Implications for Irrigation and Groundwater in the Republican River Basin, USA Gengxin Ou, Francisco Munoz-Arriola, Daniel R Uden, Derrel Martin, Craig R Allen, Nancy Shank This study investigates the influence of climate change on groundwater availability, and thereby, irrigation across political boundaries within the US High Plains aquifer. A regression model is developed to predict changes in irrigation according to predicted changes in precipitation and temperature from a downscaled dataset of 32 general circulation models (GCMs). Precipitation recharge changes are calculated with precipitation-recharge curves developed for prognostic representations of precipitation across the Nebraska-Colorado-Kansas area and within the Republican River Basin focal landscape. Irrigation-recharge changes are scaled with changes in irrigation. The groundwater responses to climate forcings are then simulated under new pumping and recharge rates using a MODFLOW groundwater flow model. Results show that groundwater pumping and recharge both will increase and that the effects of groundwater pumping will overshadow those from natural fluctuations. Groundwater levels will decline more in areas with irrigation-driven decreasing trends in the baseline. The methodologies and predictions of this study can inform long-term water planning and the design of management strategies that help avoid and resolve water-related conflicts, enabling irrigation sustainability.