TACCIMO: Making Science Accessible for Forest Planners

In early 2009, a group of researchers led by Steve McNulty, team leader with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, partnered directly with forest planners from across the Southern Region of the National Forest System  to start looking at what needed to be done to address the looming problems posed by climate change. A series of meetings were held to share information and ideas about solutions. The results of this collaboration are captured in the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO), a Web-based technology designed specifically for natural resource management under climate change.

“Our national forests face a real challenge when they need to assemble the latest information on climate change to inform their planning and project level decisions,” said Paul Arndt, regional planner for the Southern Region. “Planning teams are already trying to address very complex management situations. When they factor in climate change, the implications of which can be so far reaching, it’s hard to know where to begin.”

The problems facing modern resource stewardship are without parallel, but so too are the scientific knowledge and emerging technological capabilities available to address them. Developed jointly through a partnership between EFETAC and the Southern Region, TACCIMO pulls together in one place the science-based information managers need to plan across multiple forests and scales.

TACCIMO leads forest managers through the thought process of assessing what climate change may mean for their specific forests. Based on emerging needs and ongoing discussion between scientists and managers, TACCIMO is constantly updated with searchable quotations from peer-reviewed scientific literature that describe impacts and management options. To make the connection between science and management literal, TACCIMO includes forest plans for all of the national forests east of the Mississippi. Planners can also use a custom map viewer to explore climate change projections across selected regions.

Even more important than putting all of this information in one place, TACCIMO provides a visual interface where multiple types of information can be connected or layered with existing forest plans. Forest managers can see what the potential impacts are in a given area, what management options exist, and which aspects of their existing plan might be affected. The TACCIMO experience is captured in exportable reports that document climate change impacts on forest planning and management in a science report, while the spatial variability and projected range of future climate is presented in a geospatial report.

Read the Compass article by Emrys Treasure, biological scientist with the EFETAC team in Raleigh, NC: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/compasslive/compass18/answeringcall.html

Explore TACCIMO: http://www.forestthreats.org/tools/taccimo/intro