Socio-ecological Trends:

Using temporal trends to identify potential resilience of mountain counties

The health of mountain communities is closely tied to their surrounding natural resources, which often drives their economies. Although both extractive and non-extractive industries impact the local economy by providing jobs and bringing money into relatively remote towns, their relationship is often in conflict. Tourism, for example, can be negatively impacted by extractive industries if not properly monitored and managed. Therefore, it is critical to understand the relationship between the local economy and the surrounding natural resources. We are eximining techniques that use ecological and socio-economic metrics to benchmark mountain ecosystems thereby establishing baselines for decision-making. So far we have examined four metrics—net primary productivity, winter precipitation, per capita income, and population—as proxies for monitoring important socio-ecological conditions. You can explore these metrics using the map below.

Look at the map below to view temporal trends in your county

Currently only available for the Pacific Northwest. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Use the buttons below to select the type of trend you would like to view.

Importance of net primary productivity:

Ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP) can indicate biodiversity and ecosystem function and is capable of showing anthropogenic influence on vegetation within an ecosystem. Beyond typical land use manipulation (logging, agriculture, wetland degradation, etc.), communities in mountainous regions often have to deal with the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). The WUI causes habitat loss and fragmentation, threaten wildlife populations, and a declines in biodiversity. There are several social challenges within the WUI as they are often disconnected from community’s key resources, more space between houses, increased risk of wildfire, and sometimes difficult access for emergency and land management personnel.

NPP can also indicate disturbances such as wildfire, logging, land use change, and urban development. Fires will rapidly decrease NPP as large swaths of growing forest are burnt. Logging decreases NPP but this can occur more slowly as logging operations can last several years. Rapid rises in NPP can also indicate changes in land use. Frequently, steep climbs in NPP are associated with more agriculture output. More agriculture means more plant growth and thus more plant production. Sowing seeds in a field that has been fallow for a long period of time would be an example of how NPP could rapidly rise.