David Chipping (

The CNPS Chapter Council elected to explore how we might deal with issues associated with climate change, and a statewide working group is starting up with me as Chair. One thing I would love to do is to make SLO Chapter a ‘test bed’ for different approaches to the problem. I invite anyone interested to contact me and share their views.

To kick things off I see the following key issues for our consideration:

  • What do climate models say about the most likely changes in climate that might reasonably be expected?
  • Looking at our plant species and vegetation, where are the greatest risks given the expected climate change, in terms of many changes that might be expected. Use some existing methodology for assessing and ranking multiple risk factors.
  • 3) Start doing vulnerability analyses of CNPS listed plants in our chapter area. This will include seeing what happened during the extreme stressor of the drought we have just experienced.
  • Gain better knowledge of existing trends, including initiating plant surveys and gaining information on historic population distribution. Lots of field trips and field work here. We would work at the individual species and the grosser level of ‘vegetation’.
  • Examine what our chapter would recommend regarding future CNPS actions and policies. For example, would we support “assisted migration” in which a plant at risk of extirpation would be transplanted into areas it has never historically occupied?

Do we, after assessing that there are too many variables that could affect future conditions, throw up our hands and leave it to Darwin to sort out?