Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

A 'Back to the Future' Approach to Taking Action on Climate Change

March 18, 2014

How can communities dodge future disasters from Mother Nature before she has dealt the blow? Researchers are taking a unique approach to the issue and gaining input and support from community stakeholders. Daniel Murphy, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of anthropology, will present findings on March 20, at the 74th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA) in Albuquerque, N.M.

The presentation reveals an innovative, interdisciplinary research technique for approaching climate change vulnerability that's called Multi-scale, Interactive Scenario-Building (MISB). The project focuses on two geographic case studies: Big Hole Valley in Montana - a high-altitude ranching valley - and Grand County in Colorado - a resort community west of Denver and south of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The researchers conducted a series of one-on-one interviews at those sites to get an array of community contributors thinking and planning for future ecological hazards, and to consider the impact of those decisions.

The researchers posed three scenarios involving future drastic climate changes. The one-on-one interviews involved around 30 people for each region, ranging from ranchers to teachers, small business owners, hunting guides, county planners and representatives from federal and state agencies. Ecologists on the research team would then predict the impact of the suggested planning.

The three possible scenarios were:

Some Like it Hot - Describes years and years of consistent summer drought.

The Seasons, They're a-Changing - Describes changes in seasonality, such as significantly increased rainfall in the spring.

Feast or Famine - Describes big swings in temperature and precipitation between years.

"Areas like the Big Hole depend on snow to irrigate their hayfields," explains Murphy, "so little snowfall could pose a big problem. Not only does it affect their hay crop, but in a region with the Arctic Grayling, a candidate for endangered listing, the water shortage would affect wildlife. Because of these scenarios, more groups were open to conservation efforts. All community interests were able to see the benefits of conservation efforts."

Murphy says scenarios to remove or shrink grazing allotments for ranchers were also big concerns, since ranchers would turn to grazing allotments to offset the effect of drought on herds.

"Flood irrigation, for example, has environmental impacts that are really, really good. So, we looked at the impact of stopping flood irrigation and switching to center pivot irrigation. It could rob the groundwater, it would evaporate off the soil and it wouldn't go back into the river, so river levels would go down and stress the fish. So in examining that scenario, ranchers could see how this feeds back and that's the iteration," says Murphy.

Murphy adds that one of the major concerns in Grand County, Colo., is also water, because much of the snow melt there feeds into a lake that's a reservoir for Denver's water. "Ranchers, irrigators and home owners are concerned about rising water prices if there is less snow, so that was a conflict that seemed to emerge there."

Murphy says that in both Grand County and Big Hole Valley, the second scenario was perceived as an opportunity, because despite any temperature increases or other issues, it involved continuous rain in the spring.

Murphy is now exploring climate vulnerability in Ohio's Appalachia near the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio, where he says future flooding could pose a threat.

"A lot of research in this area tends to focus on past vulnerability or past adaptation, and from my perspective, that's come and gone. The real opportunities lie in the future, and we're examining how city planners, urban planners and extension agents can utilize our research in future decision-making," says Murphy.

Funding for the project was supported by the U.S. Forest Service at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. The interdisciplinary project involved the expertise of anthropologists, conservation social scientists, ecologists and a hydrologist.

Co-researchers on the project are Laurie Yung, associate professor of natural resource social science, University of Montana; Carina Wyborn, a postdoctoral researcher at University of Montana and visiting fellow, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University; and Daniel Williams, research social scientist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

The SFAA promotes interdisciplinary research in addressing issues affecting human beings around the world. The destinations theme of the spring conference focuses on transience and mobility.

UC's Department of Anthropology in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is involved in active field research stretching from Madagascar to Mongolia. Its emphasis on research and teaching covers bioevolutionary approaches to health, ecosystem dynamics and forms of social inequality.

University of Cincinnati


Related Ranchers Current Events and Ranchers News Articles


In grasslands, longer spring growing season offsets higher summer temperatures
Grasslands across North America will face higher summer temperatures and widespread drought by the end of the century, according to a new study.

Horse owners can manage flies with wasps instead of pesticides
Horses need help when it comes to insect pests like flies. But, unfortunately, horse owners are in the dark about how best to manage flies because research just hasn't been done, according to a new overview of equine fly management in the latest issue of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, an open-access journal that is written for farmers, ranchers, and extension professionals.

Both sides framed Keystone XL Pipeline debate in Nebraska
As supporters and opponents of the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline testified at public hearings in Nebraska between 2010-2013, several interest groups attempted to frame the debate in different ways.

Brazilian beef industry moves to reduce its destruction of rain forests
Expansion of cattle pastures has led to the destruction of huge swaths of rain forest in Brazil, home to the world's largest herd of commercial beef cattle.

Rainforest protection akin to speed limit control
The destruction of the Brazilian rainforest has slowed significantly. With around 5000 square kilometers annually, the loss is now about 80% lower than in 2004.

Gene in high-altitude cattle disease sheds light on human lung disease
Vanderbilt University researchers have found a genetic mutation that causes pulmonary hypertension in cattle grazed at high altitude, and which leads to a life-threatening condition called brisket disease.

A little rest from grazing improves native grasslands
Just like us, grasslands need rest to improve their health. A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science in the journal Ecological Restoration shows a 72 percent increase in where native perennial grasses were found on a coastal California ranch when cattle grazing was changed to give the land more time to rest.

Trees and shrubs invading critical grasslands, diminish cattle production
Half of the Earth's land mass is made up of rangelands, which include grasslands and savannas, yet they are being transformed at an alarming rate.

Study finds benefits to burning Flint Hills prairie in fall and winter
Kansas State University researchers have completed a 20-year study that looks at the consequences of burning Flint Hills prairie at different times of the year.

Meet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestor
An animal once believed to have disappeared from North America before humans ever arrived there might actually have roamed the continent longer than previously thought - and it was likely on the list of prey for some of continent's earliest humans, researchers from the University of Arizona and elsewhere have found.
More Ranchers Current Events and Ranchers News Articles

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland
by Miriam Horn (Author)


The story of a huge, largely hidden, and entirely unexpected conservation movement in America.A Kirkus Best Book of 2016Many of the men and women doing today’s most consequential environmental work―restoring America’s grasslands, wildlife, soil, rivers, wetlands, and oceans―would not call themselves environmentalists; they would be too uneasy with the connotations of that word. What drives them is their deep love of the land: the iconic terrain where explorers and cowboys, pioneers and riverboat captains forged the American identity. They feel a moral responsibility to preserve this heritage and natural wealth, to ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive.
Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi River, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories...

A Rancher's Surrender

A Rancher's Surrender
by Michelle Beattie (Author)


Denied entrance into vet school because of her gender, fiery and determined Jillian Matthews trained at her father's side and then headed west to Montana Territory after answering an ad using only her father's initials and last name. She is convinced that her skills will override local ranchers prejudice. She's wrong and handsome Wade Parker, the one who hired her, is the first to make his displeasure public. But Jillian refuses to back down and sets out to win Wade's approval. Soon that's not all she hopes to win. Widower Wade Parker is furious the new vet he helped hire is a woman. The fact that she's beautiful, smart and wakes parts of him that he thought dead burns even more. Feeling tricked, Wade is determined to send her back east but when the town turns on Jillian and her enemies...

The Rancher Returns (The Westmoreland Legacy)

The Rancher Returns (The Westmoreland Legacy)
by Brenda Jackson (Author)


Discover New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson's The Westmoreland Legacy—a navy SEAL returns to his ranch…and finds irresistible desire! Returning from active duty to find his ranch being dug up by a beautiful stranger isn't the homecoming navy SEAL Gavin Blake expected. Layla Harris is convinced there's buried treasure on his land. But the only treasure this wealthy rancher wants to uncover is the professor's secret desires! When Layla unearths family secrets—and mysterious threats—he vows to do whatever it takes to protect her. Even as her revelations change everything…

The Rancher

The Rancher
by Diana Palmer (Author)




The Rancher and the Baby (Forever, Texas)

The Rancher and the Baby (Forever, Texas)
by Marie Ferrarella (Author)


WRANGLIN' WITH THE RANCHER? Cassidy McCullough can't remember a time when rancher Will Laredo wasn't a huge (albeit handsome) pain in her backside. In this small Texan town, their bickering is almost legendary. When they rescue a baby during a flash flood, however, Will and Cassidy suddenly find themselves temporary guardians of a child…together. Will has a hard time holstering his temper around Cassidy. Now they're both responsible for a lost baby, and darned if they can't stop arguing. The only way to make it through is to declare a cease-fire. And Lord help them both if that happens…because then Will might just discover he's falling for his enemy.

The Rancher's Expectant Christmas (Wed in the West)

The Rancher's Expectant Christmas (Wed in the West)
by Karen Templeton (Author)


An unexpected homecoming Deanna Blake is stunned at the loss of her estranged father—and inheriting half his ranch. In a strange twist, the other half goes to Josh Talbot…her former crush and one of the many sources of trouble between Dee and her dad. Not to worry. The single mom-to-be hates this place, steeped in reminders of the past she's still trying to leave behind. She'll sell her share now and ensure a comfortable future for her unborn child. Except Josh can't afford to buy her out. Reluctantly, the handsome cowboy agrees to sell the entire operation and split the proceeds. Josh—and his young son—will have to start over. But as Dee warms to their friendship, something sparks. And Josh begins to wonder if maybe they should keep it all in the family.

Rich Rancher for Christmas (The Beaumont Heirs)

Rich Rancher for Christmas (The Beaumont Heirs)
by Sarah M. Anderson (Author)


A wealthy cowboy in her stocking… CJ Wesley values his privacy more than anything. If TV news star Natalie Baker reveals he's really a Beaumont heir, the media will go wild. That's when a surprise snowstorm strands the beautiful reporter in his house—and in his bed. Soon he'll learn how much she's discovered…and how much he wants her. CJ defies Natalie's expectations. The gruff, sexy cowboy knows how to heat up a snowbound cabin and make Christmas magical. Exposing the elusive Beaumont brother will save her job—but only at the price of their passionate connection. It's a holiday dilemma…but will the right choice lead to forever? Rich Rancher for Christmas is part of The Beaumont Heirs series.

Montana Sky: The Rancher And The Shepherdess (Kindle Worlds Novella)

Montana Sky: The Rancher And The Shepherdess (Kindle Worlds Novella)
by Kindle Worlds


Dead—her groom-to-be died while she was on her way to Montana!

Her escape from a bad situation sent young widow Gormlaith McGowan west as a mail-order bride. What is she to do now that she is in a strange place with almost no money, no prospect of a job, and no idea how she’ll survive? Plus, her late husband’s family wants her hung for his death, though his fall wasn’t her fault.

Garrett McDonald hadn’t planned on marrying for several months. When urged by the sheriff to consider a young widow, he agreed to meet with her. One look was all he needed to convince him to wed the beautiful woman. She said she’d had experience with farming and animals and was willing to work hard. But life on a tiny Irish farm hadn’t prepared her for Montana.

Her Renegade Rancher: A Montana Men Novel

Her Renegade Rancher: A Montana Men Novel
by Jennifer Ryan (Author)


The latest installment in Jennifer Ryan's New York Times bestselling Montana Men series...He’ll risk everything for the right womanNo one knows better than Colt Kendrick that life can change in an instant. He lives without regrets except for one: not making the gorgeous woman he sees every time he walks into the local diner his. Luna Hill is haunted by the heart-stopping kiss she and Colt never should have shared. Their timing has always been off. Just as sparks begin to ignite again, she is offered a job that will take her far from their ranching town. But when a dear friend dies unexpectedly, leaving Luna a staggering gift, she has a chance to stay and finally make her long buried wishes come true—even ones that involve the sexiest cowboy she’s ever known.Not everyone is happy...

The Ranchers (The Founders Book 2)

The Ranchers (The Founders Book 2)
by Wolfpack Publishing


Heiress to a cattle kingdom, she was caught up in a range war and fierce vendetta between two powerful and dangerous men.
Passions as large as they coveted, these were the Ranchers.

© 2016 BrightSurf.com