REPORTS: Climate change presents challenges and opportunities for Idaho | Idaho
MOSCOW – The impacts of climate change in Idaho will present challenges and opportunities for all sectors of Idaho’s economy – from recreation and tourism to agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure and land – according to a series of reports prepared by researchers in Idaho that have just been released to the public by the University of Idaho James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.
The Idaho Climate and Economic Impact Assessment connects the latest scientific research on Idaho’s climate change with economic risks and opportunities that impact businesses, residents, and local and national economies .
âThe assessment is a non-partisan scientific resource for Idaho business leaders and policymakers to plan for a productive, prosperous and resilient Idaho economy,â said Katherine Himes, director of the McClure Center.
Over the past two years, dozens of researchers in Idaho have consulted and synthesized data on various effects of climate change. They linked Idaho’s climate changes to economic analyzes and worked with state and regional experts to assess the impact it could have on Idahoan wallets.
“Idaho is geographically unique,” said Patrick Hatzenbuehler, assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of I University, an extension specialist in crop economics and co-author of the Agriculture Report. âHaving data specific to Idaho will help different communities in Idaho respond to the region-specific challenges presented by climate trends,â he said.
The assessment was supported financially by businesses, nonprofits, governments and foundations and included a forty-member advisory board with leaders from businesses, nonprofits and local governments, state, federal and tribal.
A look at the main economic sectors
The team of researchers from the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University examined key economic sectors in Idaho, including agriculture. , energy, human health, infrastructure, land (forests and rangelands) and recreation and tourism.
Jeff Hicke, professor of geography and climate change researcher at State University, co-chaired the forests section of the assessment. He compiled and reviewed data and scientific literature to identify the most recent forestry science relevant to Idaho. The Forests Report says there will be a change in tree species in the years to come as climates change and forests adapt.
âTrees will react to climate change differently; some will benefit from a warmer climate and others will be stressed, reduce their growth and be vulnerable to bark beetle outbreaks, âhe said.
Hicke said the assessment reveals opportunities for the lumber industry to identify solutions to reduce the effects of climate change and protect economic activity in Idaho. This could include working with others to offset the impacts of emissions by increasing storage in Idaho’s forests and providing monetary benefits to forest managers in Idaho.
Hatzenbuehler notes that these reports will help industry executives, land managers and landowners adapt their practices to reduce the economic impacts of climate change or even increase profits under certain conditions.
âTrends indicate that, even under irrigation, some crops like corn are more sensitive to climate change than others like wheat. Likewise, if you have irrigated land with sufficient access to water, hay will be a crop that will increase the yield as the temperature warms, so including hay in the rotation on crops such as corn is economically makes sense as a farmer in this specific scenario, “he said.
Economic valuation reports are available online, along with additional materials and resources. Himes encourages residents of Idaho to visit the website to identify opportunities for economic growth and to learn more.