Greater Yellowstone climate assessment: past, present, and future climate change in greater Yellowstone watersheds
Drimal, Charles Wolf
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The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) is one of the last remaining large and nearly intact temperate ecosystems on Earth (Reese 1984; NPSa undated). GYA was originally defined in the 1970s as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which encompassed the minimum range of the grizzly bear (Schullery 1992). The boundary was enlarged through time and now includes about 22 million acres (8.9 million ha) in northwestern Wyoming, south central Montana, and eastern Idaho. Two national parks, five national forests, three wildlife refuges, 20 counties, and state and private lands lie within the GYA boundary. GYA also includes the Wind River Indian Reservation, but the region is the historical home to several Tribal Nations. Federal lands managed by the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service amount to about 64% (15.5 million acres [6.27 million ha] or 24,200 square miles [62,700 km2]) of the land within the GYA. The federal lands and their associated wildlife, geologic wonders, and recreational opportunities are considered the GYA’s most valuable economic asset. GYA, and especially the national parks, have long been a place for important scientific discoveries, an inspiration for creativity, and an important national and international stage for fundamental discussions about the interactions of humans and nature (e.g., Keiter and Boyce 1991; Pritchard 1999; Schullery 2004; Quammen 2016). Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 as the world’s first national park, is the heart of the GYA. Grand Teton National Park, created in 1929 and expanded to its present size in 1950, is located south of Yellowstone National Park1 and is dominated by the rugged Teton Range rising from the valley of Jackson Hole. The Gallatin-Custer, Shoshone, Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee, and Beaverhead-Deerlodge national forests encircle the two national parks and include the highest mountain ranges in the region. The National Elk Refuge, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge also lie within GYA.
Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment: Past, Present, and Future Climate Change in Greater Yellowstone Watersheds is available in digital format at www.gyclimate.org. While included in this report, a stand-alone Executive Summary is also available.
Hostetler S, Whitlock C, Shuman B, Liefert D, Drimal C, Bischke S. 2021. Greater Yellowstone climate assessment: past, present, and future climate change in greater Yellowstone watersheds. Bozeman MT: Montana State University, Institute on Ecosystems.