Applying climate change information in resource management.
Climate change information, with estimates of natural disturbance and projected ecosystem shifts, can support research and inform decision-making for a wide range of values within the purview of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. In recent workshops, a need for Ministry-supported climate projections was identified. Evaluating how users apply climate projections should guide content; understanding their skills can help in designing effective delivery and support. We built a survey to solicit information on climate data needs and applications, preferred delivery of information, and respondents' skills. Between November 2018 and February 2019, we collated 45 responses from Ministry staff who were working in a variety of areas, including ecology, fisheries and wildlife, forestry, aquaculture, hazards, water stewardship, land permitting, planning, and engineering. Respondents requested clear indications of climate trends and extremes, where possible, including estimates of uncertainty. Two distinct user-groups differed in their needs: researchers preferred easy access to raw information for manipulation, and close communication with other specialists, including climatologists; decision makers preferred interpreted data that clearly show trends and uncertainty based on consensus projections. Recommendations include developing an endorsed set of climate projections, models, and tools; building web-based access to that information using multiple layers; providing support at regional and provincial levels; and tailoring training to user needs and skills.