Climate Hubs will deliver science based knowledge and practical information on climate change to farmers, ranchers and forest land managers.
The Hubs include the Agricultural Research Service, Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) who will connect with public, academic, and private sector organizations, researchers, and outreach specialists to deliver technical support and provide tools and strategies for climate change response. Such tools and strategies will help producers cope with challenges associated with drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons, and changes in pest pressures as a result of climate change and weather variability.
The Southeast produces over 55 percent by volume of the nation’s timber harvest. In addition, crops like peanuts, rice, tobacco and vegetables could be impacted by climate change, along with Florida’s citrus crop. There are also coastal concerns and freshwater issues that will be impacted by climate change and weather variability further stressing regional water supplies and water quality.
The last decade has brought record droughts to the Southeast, increasing wildfires, expanding insect and plant invasions, and resulting more intense hurricane and tornado events. Scientists predict increases in temperature and changes in rainfall patterns that can make these threats occur more often, with more intensity, or for longer duration. However, there are land management strategies that can be used to decrease the risk from these threats. Climate Hubs and their partners will translate science and research into ways farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can adapt and adjust to changing resource conditions.
SERCH will serve 13 southeastern states and Puerto Rico. The Hub is being led by Dr. Steven McNulty, Supervisory Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station in Raleigh. McNulty is senior Landscape Ecologist with the Forest Service and a USDA Professor of Ecology at NCSU. For the past 25 years, he has conducted landscape scale modeling on studies of many components of forest ecology including carbon sequestration, forest hydrology, and forest productivity. He has authored or co-authored over 200 papers in the area of environmental stress impacts on forest ecosystems. Currently Dr. McNulty serves on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Water Forum and is a member of the North American Forestry Commission.
"For over 20 years the USDA has focused on understanding climate change impacts, and in developing adaptation tools to minimize negative consequences on range, agricultural and forest lands,” said Dr. McNulty. “The SERCH will now focus on delivering these adaptation tools to the landowner and land managers that need them, and having their feedback drive future research direction."
To learn more about SERCH go to: http://globalchange.ncsu.edu/serch/