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USFS Climate Change Seminar a Success!


The First Annual Event

The first annual International Seminar on Climate Change and Natural Resources Management (Seminar) took place from May 9-30, 2010 in California and Washington, D.C.  This year's Seminar served as a pilot under the United States Forest Service International Programs (USFS IP) and involved 23 participants from 22 different countries, as well as 7 leadership team members from USFS IP, the University of California Davis and the Training Resources Group (TRG).

 A Broad Spectrum of Issues

According to the Seminar Leadership Team (SLG), the Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Seminar was designed to stimulate interaction and learning on a broad spectrum of issues related to climate change and its implications for natural resources management.  Through field site visits, class and field instruction, guest lectures by recognized experts, participant presentations and facilitated discussions, the participants learned about assessing the likely impact of climate change on natural systems, alternative land management techniques, institutional responses, adaptation strategies, and mitigation measures for responding to the impacts of climate change.  While exchanging ideas and experiences with colleagues from around the world, the Seminar's intent was to foster a learning environment where ideas and management practices can be applied in the participants' home countries.

ICEr's Give the MU Renovations a Thumb's UP

Back in March 2010, an announcement was made that if a tour of the MU renovations was desired, it could be granted.  Well, many an ICEr is a fan of the MU so a group signed up and we received a personal tour of the MU renovations.  Our Coffee House friend and Super Supervisor, Darin Schluep (seen in the Bagel Bar photo with Jackie) showed us the inner workings of the gutted eatery.  We even got to wear hardhats!!

What we once knew as the MU is now completely gone, walls were torn down, steel reinforcements were erected, gas, water and drain pipes were covered up as construction workers moved about the large open space.  The construction crew was busy in the background preparing ceiling spaces for HVAC equipment, hoods for the TexMex Grill and air conditioning for those blazing hot summer days.  Even the cooking areas we never got to see before, were stripped of their equipment and opened up.

Jackie Bjorkman, Rob Coman, Ryan Boynton,  Kelly Torres and  Nate Roth were treated to the visual of what's to come.  Some of those highlights are: the area that was an outside eating area (near the old Bagel Bar) will now be indoors with a large oval island serving as the Bakery (containing specialty coffee, smoothies, fruit and the baked goods we love so much), new seating around the perimeter of the room, a pasta bar (with healthy/whole grain options) and the Pho Bar will return with the addition of a sushi section.

OSGeo Live 3.0 (Arramagong) Released


In collaboration with the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), ICE graduate student researcher Alex Mandel is proud to announce the release of OSGeo Live version 3, code name "Arramagong". OSGeo Live is a collection of the Free and Open Source geospatial software configured to run from a DVD,USB or Virtual Machine. After months of design and programming, the latest release includes a significant amount of new software and many improvements from the previous version. Highlights:

  • 14 new applications added since release 2.0, at FOSS4G 2009 conference

Elkhorn Slough Early Mitigation Partnership Moves Forward


And a great relationship was built!

After working together over 2 1/2 years, ICE finished its tenure with an interagency team forging new transportation mitigation practices in California's Central Coast.


Their Goal:

To develop advanced mitigation for transportation projects within the Elkhorn Slough Watershed and make their ideas available as a template for others.


Why Here?

Elkhorn Slough (the Slough), found just south of Santa Cruz, California, is home to the 6,000-foot deep Monterey Submarine Canyon.  Large enough to cradle the Grand Canyon, this underwater trough stretches inland to the shores of the historic fishing community of Moss Landing.  With the combination of plummeting ocean depths near the shore, along with tidal marshes, and inland brackish lagoons, one of the premier aquatic and avian habitats in the world was created.  Because this area is also home to increasing humantiy and roadways, transportation and environmental specialists joined with a regional land trust to pilot a new idea. This new idea included measures to more effectively conserve and restore lands in the Slough as an integral part of building and repairing its regional roads.

ICE Personnel Publish in Landscape Ecology journal


James Thorne, Ryan Boynton and fellow ESP and Plant Sciences colleagues Fraser Shilling and Alison Berry, publish in the Landscape Ecology Journal.  Their publication, Fragmentation of China's landscape by roads and urban areas, came out in February.  It is a collaborative study  with Taian Li, Fengmin Li, and Heidi Schott that takes a look at how roads, railways, and urban development are disconnecting China's landscape and suggest that the evaluation of ecological fragmentation be integrated into future road system planning.

To read the whole article visit the Springerlink website and log in or register,

Additionally, this project has been accepted for presentation at the 2010 ESRI International User Conference.  Ryan Boynton  will give a 15-20 minute lecture titled Measuring the Fragmentation of China's Landscape Using Effective Mesh Size.  The conference takes place from July 12th through the 16th in San Diego, California. 

Read more about the ESRI International User Conference at 


Legend for the map:  a=FG1, b-FG2, c=FG3

ICE hosts International Climate Change Seminar!


The US Forest Service International Programs and the University of California, Davis, are pleased to announce a new International Seminar on Climate Change and Natural Resource Management, to take place May 9—30, 2010, in California.  Because of its national leadership on climate change legislation, greenhouse gas reduction targets, and multiple resource management agencies, California is an ideal location to learn about cutting edge land management practices under climate change.  The State contains many ecosystems affected by climate change, while facing pressure from rapid human growth, water scarcity, and important agricultural land uses.  The seminar is designed for natural resource managers with a professional interest in climate change issues who wish to participate in an engaging, interactive, and highly informative training and field study program.  Attendees will learn about adaptation and mitigation practices for managing natural resources in the face of climate change and its potential effects on natural resources, and will be introduced to policy and technological developments in carbon markets and offsets.


The Seminar Planning Team, pictured from left to right:

Jim Quinn, Alex Moad, Rima Eid, Karen Beardsley and Scott Loomis

Beardsley named Associate Director of ICE


As we bid former ICE co-director Mike McCoy a bon voyage and congratulatons on his new endeavor at the Urban Land Use and Transportation (ULTRANS) Center, we also extend best wishes to the new Associate Director of the Information Center for the Environment (ICE), Dr. Karen Beardsley.

Karen Beardsley has been with ICE since its inception in 1994.  She began as a geographic information system (GIS) analyst and has held a senior manager position at ICE for the past 8-10 years.  Now she is assuming most of Mike McCoy's duties at ICE as she moves into the Associate Director position, with Professor Jim Quinn remaining as the ICE Director.  Karen brings to her new position, extensive administrative and research experience, as well as specialized skills in spatial technology for decision support, urban modeling and wildlife conservation.  Her research includes modeling enviromental impacts of land use policies in California an integrating wildlife conservation and land use planning practices in Kenya.  Karen is a geographer and GIS expert who earned her master's degree in Geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara and recently completed her PhD in Geography at UC Davis.  One of Karen's current undertakings is to oversee the development of a new Forest Service sponsored international seminar on Climate Change and Natural Resource Management taking place May 2010 at UC Davis.

Butterflies affected by Climate and Development


A new study covering 159 species of butterfly that were monitored for over 35 years has just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is the first major paper resulting from the remarkable research program of Professor Art Shapiro at UC Davis. Art's project consists of 11 sites which he visits every two weeks, and extend from Suisun Marsh in the Bay Area, across the central valley, and up and over the Sierra Nevada to a final point at Sierra Valley on the east side.

Their most significant findings:

-- Butterfly diversity (the number of different species present) is falling fast at all the sites near sea level, in the central valley, and the foothills. It is also declining, but more slowly, in the mountains.

-- The highest monitoring sites, at tree line, show an increase in butterfly diversity, as lower-elevation species react to the warming climate by moving upslope to higher, cooler elevations.

-- However, among butterflies adapted to the highest elevations, the number of species is beginning to fall because temperatures are becoming uncomfortably warm for them.

“There is nowhere to go except heaven,” Shapiro said.

Another surprising finding was that ruderal (“weedy”) butterfly species that breed on “weedy” plants in disturbed habitats and are highly mobile are actually declining faster than “non-weedy” species — those that specialize in one habitat type.

Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas Surpass Half a Million Records!


For over 20 years, the Information Center for the Environment (ICE), in cooperation with numerous collaborators, has been developing databases containing documented, taxonomically harmonized species inventories of plants and animals reported from the world's protected areas.  These databases provide access to information that is otherwise largely unavailable via the Internet and provide a mechanism for protected areas to publish their species' inventories when they would otherwise be unable to do so.

These databases utilize controlled vocabularies, most importantly site and species names, in an attempt to adhere to international standards and to provide reliable query results.  The names (and associated geographic coordinates, dates of establishment, etc.) of the protected areas in the databases follow those in the World Database on Protected Areas.  Species names of both plants and animals are harmonzied to widely recognized taxonomic standards.  The names of species in the databases are updated regularly to reflect advances in our understanding of species' relationships and accepted naming conventions.

In January, 2010 the Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas surpassed 500,000 records, and currently contain 503,353 records from 1,434 protected areas in 133 countries.  These databases are used by a wide variety of investigators seeking answers to questions of scientific, management, policy, and recreational interest.

Former ICE'r a Wizard!


Evan Girvetz, (once a graduate student at UC Davis's Evolution and Ecology Graduate group stationed in ICE) et al, has created a tool for analyzing climate change in your region:

Applied Climate-Change Analysis - The Climate Wizard Tool

Background: Although the message of ‘‘global climate change’’ is catalyzing international action, it is local and regional changes that directly affect people and ecosystems and are of immediate concern to scientists, managers, and policy makers. A major barrier preventing informed climate-change adaptation planning is the difficulty accessing, analyzing, and interpreting climate-change information. To address this problem, we developed a powerful, yet easy to use, web-based tool called Climate Wizard ( that provides non-climate specialists with simple analyses and innovative graphical depictions for conveying how climate has and is projected to change within specific geographic areas throughout the world.

What's new with UPlan?


Besides trying out new logo's, UPlan has various tasks in progress and is looking towards the future. 

Some of those are:

Improved Redevelopment:  steps are underway that will build on the Fresno model for redevelopment.  This includes two additional datasets that have population and employment density in areas available for redevelopment.  This model should calculate the number of displaced residents and employees, and reintroduce them as a portion of a second run.

Combined User Interface:  There will be one user interface that gives direct control to all aspetcs of the model.  This avoids having to exit out of model setup to add a data layer that might be needed or adjust land uses.

Some tasks in the planning stages are:

The 4D Calculator:  This is a tool for predicting the effects of land use changes on VMT.  A set of elasticities derived by Fehr & Peers and a processing method being developed by SACOG will be implemented into UPlan.

Potential Future Directions include:

Monte Carlo Simulation:  Use the net attraction as a utility surface in a logit choice model or as a simple (pseudo) probability surface for development.

Intrigued?  Read more in the attached PDF file.



ITS has a new center - Meet ULTRANS



Better land use management and reduced vehicle travel can lower energy use and improve the
environment. To achieve climate goals, California recently enacted new laws that require such
action; other regions will likely follow suit. But how can vehicle use actually be reduced? And
how much reduction is possible and desirable? Those questions inspired the creation of the Urban
Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS).

ULTRANS aims to support the design and implementation of new land use and vehicle demand
policies through research, education, and public outreach. The Center’s results-oriented
research illuminates the relationship between land use, transportation, and the environment.
Models and methods developed at ULTRANS will support the development of policies that
encourage sustainable cities and regions.

Researchers at ULTRANS are as interdisciplinary as the issues they address. Researchers and
graduate students have advanced training in a range of disciplines including urban planning,
transportation engineering, integrated urban modeling, urban economics, political science, and

ULTRANS is administered by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) in
affiliation with the UC Davis Information Center for the Environment (ICE) and in partnership
with researchers at UC Berkeley.

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