Assessing the impacts of future climates and fire on hydrologic regimes in the Mediterranean-type ecosystems of southern California
The Mediterranean climate region of southern and coastal California is a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot, in addition its natural landscapes provide a suite of ecosystem services including water provision to the high density urban populations and agricultural lands in close proximity. The provisioning of water is also critical to sustained ecological function, including habitat for endangered species like the southern California steelhead. Given the importance of water provisioning and other ecosystem services, there is surprisingly little known regarding their vulnerability to future climates and increasing fire in southern California. This is particularly concerning given the predicted impacts of climate change and altered fire regimes in southern California (Shaw et al., 2009, Keeley and Fotheringham, 2003). It is essential for natural resource managers and water managers in these chaparral-dominated systems to understand the spatial patterns of water provision services together with the interacting threats of climate change and fire, as a necessary step for managing for their longterm sustainability.
The objectives of this project are to:
- Calibrate the Basin Characterization Model to Mediterranean type climate regions
- Assess the impact of fire on hydrological regimes and measuring post fire recovery
- Assess the impact of future climates on hydrological regimes
- Develop a management workflow and tool to assist in natural resource decision making