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G.1-4: Impact of Climate Change on Wetland Density and Waterfowl Production in Prairie Canada

Presented by Lauren Bortolotti - Email: l_bortolotti@ducks.ca

Prairie wetlands are important to breeding waterfowl in North America, but are expected to be sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation, with anthropogenic climate change possibly altering wetland abundance and distribution. Together, wetland change and climate-driven land use change may have synergistic, antagonistic, or additive effects on waterfowl habitat/populations. To proactively consider actions that optimally counteract threats posed by climate change, we are undertaking a three-part research project. First, key to better understanding future wetland extent is having models that are capable of simulating the unique climatological and hydrological conditions in the Canadian prairies. However, the most cutting-edge regional climate models currently do not adequately capture prairie wetlands spatial extent or possible climatic feedbacks. We are developing a prairie wetland representation for a land surface model coupled with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model to be able to simulate future wetland extent. Second, future wetland abundance and distribution will be incorporated into Prairie Habitat Joint Venture waterfowl distribution and productivity models to forecast effects on waterfowl. Finally, wetland changes will be combined with and compared to previously generated econometric and climate-induced land use change estimates to produce spatially explicit estimates of possible changes in waterfowl productivity across the Canadian PPR. This work will improve our understanding of the interactions between climate and land use change, their effects on waterfowl, and allow for improved conservation planning.
Session: Climate Change (Thursday, August 29, 8:15 to 10:00)