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Mapping land management agency resilience in the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion

Perrone, Miranda (2018) Mapping land management agency resilience in the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The southwestern United States is transitioning to a drier climate as a result of climate change. Located within this region, the Sonoran Desert is the most biodiverse desert in North America with numerous threatened and endangered species endemic to this ecoregion. The region is ill-equipped to accommodate the anticipated effects of shifting fire regimes associated with global climate change. Proliferation of non-native annuals associated with human disturbance and a changing climate have introduced regular wildfire to this system, historically comprised of non fire-adapted native plants. Furthermore, fire frequency and intensity are projected to increase in this region as a result of increased flammability and a longer fire season due to rapid drying of fuels. This research fits into the larger FireAdapt Joint Science Fire Program research project, which seeks to map and model ecological, social, and ultimately socioecological resilience of land management agencies in the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion in the face of shifting fire regimes. To map social resilience of land management agencies on a jurisdictional level, this research collects management data from jurisdictional land managers across the region and performs data analysis to build a management resilience map based on four resilience indicators. Of the area analyzed, 17% classified as low resilience, 16% as low-moderate, 56% as moderate, 7% as moderate-high, and 3% as high. GIS data reflecting land managers' experience with fire and perceptions of organizational constraints (i.e., financial constraints) were then overlaid on this resilience map to examine the presence of these factors with relation to variation in mapped resilience. Variation in prevalence of fire history and extent of constraint by resilience level do not provide conclusive indication that either of these factors plays a dominant role in explaining the presence of low resilience areas. By drawing upon participatory GIS and mapping strategies to apply spatial analysis to qualitative data this research aims to produce maps that inform more resilient futures. In doing so, this research supports solutions for interdisciplinary problems existing at least partially outside the realm of quantitative data. Five maps have been included as final products with the potential to be integrated into FireAdapt follow-up workshops with land managers. Results may be informative for arid systems elsewhere, where novel fire regimes are also emerging or changing rapidly.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: climate change; fire; land management; mapping; participatory; resilience; Sonoran Desert
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2021 17:14
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5470

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