2009 Natural Resources Conference Focuses on Climate Change

By Jim Low, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

First posted on 12-10-2008

Dozens of presentations examine issues related to climate change from local, national and global perspectives.

OSAGE BEACH, MO—Conservation professionals and citizen activists can garner a wealth of information and engage in discussions about the effects of global climate change on Missouri forests, fish and wildlife at the 2009 Missouri Natural Resources Conference at Lake of the Ozarks.

The theme of the conference Feb. 4 through 6 is “Global Trends, Missouri Impacts, Adapting to Climate Change.” The program features speakers of national reputation, as well as dozens of sessions dealing with on-the-ground implications of climate change.

Keynote speakers for the conference include Linda Joyce, an expert in quantitative ecology at the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colo., and Dave Gustafson, a senior fellow at Monsanto Company in St. Louis.

Joyce’s recent research has focused on quantifying the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, wildlife habitat and the socio-economic implications of climate change on forestry. She is working with other scientists to develop management options for natural resource planners. She contributed to the International Panel on Climate Change reports. She also was a member of the U.S. National Assessment Synthesis Team that completed an assessment of the impacts of climate change on the U.S .

Gustafson has worked in the crop-protection industry for 25 years. His research has included developing computer models for predicting the environmental behavior of crop chemicals, especially water-quality issues. More recently he has worked to increase understanding of pollen-mediated gene flow and the population genetics of resistance in insects and weeds. He serves on several Monsanto teams looking at the new imperatives and constraints placed on the company by global climate change.

The final keynote speaker is Pete Nowak, PhD, who is a soil and water conservation specialist at the University of Wisconsin’s Environmental Resources Center. His career has focused on measuring and explaining the adoption and diffusion of agricultural technologies, especially those with natural-resource management implications. More recently he has focused on examining the application of spatial analytical techniques and statistics to critical issues in resource management.

The conference will be held at Tan-Tar-A Resort. Early-bird registration must be postmarked by Jan. 7. Registration forms and further information are available at http://www.mnrc.org .

Among the many workshops offered during the conference are:

* Missouri historical weather patterns.

* Managing bottomland forests in a changing environment.

* Revising Missouri’s Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy in light of climate change.

* Alternative energy opportunities in the Midwest: Potential impact on natural resources.

* Carbon offset trading.

* Detecting climate change signals in U.S. temperature records.

* Biofuels: Can energy production and wildlife coexist?

* Implications of carbon markets for forest management and harvest.

* Feasibility of CO2 sequestration in shallow saline aquifers in southwestern Missouri.

* Evaluating and managing wildlife impacts of climate change under uncertainty.

* Development of an amphibian biotic index to evaluate wetland health.

* Developing human threat indices for assessing the ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems.

The conference also features an opening-night social, poster displays of new and ongoing research projects, a student job fair, 5K fun walk/run and exhibits by related vendors and service providers and professional and conservation groups.

-Jim Low-