Dynamics of Uncoupled Natural and Human Systems
C-CHANGE IGERT Trainees at the University of Kansas conducted research projects on conservation and sustainability: Monarch Butterflies & Local Economies in Michoacan, Mexico (2009) and Effects of Sea Level Rise on Mangrove Forests Yucatan, Mexico (2011). Interdisciplinary teams examined the fit between climate change models (of temperature and precipitation in Michoacan’s Monarch preserves and sea level rise in Yucatan’s mangrove restoration areas) and human conservation programs. In the case of Michoacan’s monarch reserves, the lethal zones predicted by GCMs do not fit well the reserve boundaries. If the GCMs are accurate, not only the Monarchs’ migration and overwintering sites will be affected, so will the local industry growing up around Monarch tourism. In the case of Yucatan’s mangrove forests, federally-funded restoration efforts of local are unlikely to be effective in sustaining the mangroves from climate-change induced sea-level rise, but these efforts may continue to be funded because of policies focusing on community development. IGERT Associates used niche modeling techniques to assess the fit between several human conservation areas and the niche boundaries of species they were designed to protect.