[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 152 (Wednesday, August 6, 2008)]
[Pages 45693-45694]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-18112]

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Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 152 / Wednesday, August 6, 2008 / 

[[Page 45693]]


Office of the Chief Economist; Strategic Plan for USDA Climate 
Change Research, Education, and Extension

AGENCY: Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ACTION: Request for Public Input on USDA's Climate Change Strategic 
Planning Priorities and Goals for Research, Education, and Extension.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a member of the 
United States Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and has undertaken 
research on issues related to climate change and natural resources over 
the past two decades. USDA recently prepared a major scientific 
assessment of the effects of climate change on agriculture, land 
resources, water resources, and biodiversity in the United States for 
the CCSP. USDA is requesting input from the public on its effort to 
prepare a Strategic Plan for Climate Change Research, Education, and 
Extension. This request is being published in the Federal Register for 
a 45-day public comment period. Public comments will be considered 
during the preparation of the Strategic Plan. The final version of the 
Strategic Plan will be published on USDA's Web site.
    Public comments received in response to this request will be made 
available upon request.

DATES: Comments must be received by September 19, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Eleanor Rollings, Special 
Assistant to the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and 
Extension, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, 
SW., Washington, DC 20250, [email protected], 202-720-1542.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eleanor Rollings, Special Assistant to 
the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Extension, USDA, 
[email protected], 202-720-1542.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Draft goals of the USDA's Climate Change 
Strategic Plan for Research, Education, and Extension:
    Goal 1: Understand the effects of climate change on natural and 
managed ecosystems.
    USDA will promote an understanding of the impacts of climate change 
on ecosystems and managed lands, including forests, grazing lands and 
croplands, is needed to enable continued production of goods and 
services and stewardship of natural resources. Areas of emphasis 
     Effects of changing precipitation, temperature and water 
availability on productivity and system services;
     Implications of enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide 
concentrations on system productivity and services;
     Effects on invasive species, weeds, pathogens, insects and 
other factors limiting natural and managed systems productivity;
     Effects on natural disturbance regimes, including 
     Effects on production, processing, storage and delivery 
     Economic consequences of climate change on natural and 
managed ecosystems;
     Implications for water, soil and air systems needed for 
production and ecosystem sustainability;
     Indicators/metrics from earth observations for 
identifying, measuring and monitoring the effects of climate change;
     Measurement of changing carbon content of ecosystems, and 
of growth by species;
     Evaluation of social and economic indicators for impacts 
of climate change on production systems, rural communities, the 
agricultural workforce and other human dimensions;
     Incorporating climate change observations into USDA data 
    Goal 2: Develop knowledge and tools to enable adaptation to climate 
change and improve the resilience of natural and managed ecosystems.
    Mechanisms for adaptation to climate changes are critical for 
continued agricultural production and stewardship of natural resources. 
USDA activities under this goal will focus on the development of 
knowledge and technologies to address detrimental effects of climate 
change and to exploit elements of climate change that are potentially 
beneficial to agriculture and forestry. Risk management and adaptive 
management strategies are key elements of Goal 2. Elements of Goal 2 
     Sustainable practices for agricultural production in the 
context of climate change;
     Strategies to enable farmers and other landowners and 
managers to cope with challenges associated with drought, heat stress, 
moisture stress, and changes in disease and pest prevalence;
     Management actions to increase forest stress resilience 
focused on altering forest processes, composition and structure to 
better withstand the suite of environmental stresses from changing 
climate, pests, pollutants, and wildfire;
     Economic costs, benefits, and feasibility of adaptation at 
the producer through the macroeconomic scale;
     Estimation and measurement techniques and capabilities for 
assessing the effectiveness of adaptive practices;
     Strategies to enable farmers and other landowners to 
account for longer growing seasons, increases in carbon dioxide 
concentrations, and increases in precipitation where applicable;
     Management strategies for adapting to the effects of 
climate on forest health and ecosystem services;
     Knowledge and technology to enhance ecosystem adaptation 
and sustainability;
     Technologies for maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem 
services such as water supplies, wildlife, biodiversity, clean air, and 
recreation within the context of global change;
     Alternative strategies for increasing ecosystem 
     Indicators/metrics for monitoring the progress of 
strategies for adapting to climate change;
     Life-cycle analysis and management strategy assessments.
    Goal 3: Develop knowledge and tools to reduce the contributions of 
agriculture, forestry, and other land management practices to the build 
up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    Agriculture, forests, and grazing lands activities can produce 
greenhouse gas

[[Page 45694]]

(GHG) emissions to the atmosphere. Land uses can also reverse the 
buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by sequestering and 
storing carbon in biomass and soils. The dominant drivers of land use 
emissions of carbon are the conversion of forest and grassland to crop 
and pastureland and the depletion of soil carbon through agricultural 
and other land management practices. Practices such as livestock 
grazing, manure management, and fertilizer application also affect 
emissions of other GHGs such as methane (CH4) and nitrous 
oxide (N2O). USDA research will identify opportunities to 
apply resource conserving management practices to reverse past carbon 
losses and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Areas of focus under 
Goal 3 include:
     Knowledge and technologies that will assist resource 
managers in enhancing carbon sequestration;
     Management options that increase forest carbon 
sequestration by increasing the carbon stored in forests and soils, in 
forest products, and used as biofuels to replace fossil fuels.
     Costs, benefits, and feasibility of mitigation options;
     Technologies and strategies for managing agricultural and 
forestry emissions of GHGs, including CO2, N2O, 
and CH4;
     Mechanisms to facilitate the adoption and incorporation of 
GHG management technologies into agricultural and forestry production, 
processing, storage and delivery systems;
     Estimation and measurement capabilities for assessing the 
effectiveness of GHG emission management.
    Goal 4: Deliver climate change science and technology to USDA 
agencies, stakeholders and collaborators for improved decision making. 
USDA maintains research, education, and extension capabilities which 
can be drawn on to meet the challenges of climate change. USDA seeks 
comments on how to best utilize resources to address questions relevant 
to stakeholders and decision makers at local, regional, national, and 
international scales. Goal 4 emphasizes the delivery and application of 
the latest scientific information, including:
     Education of USDA stakeholders, clients and customers 
including the general public, the scientific community, land managers, 
producers, and policy makers about climate change and agriculture and 
     Scientific collaboration and technology transfer to 
integrate climate change into decision-making for management of natural 
and managed ecosystems using the products of research and development 
from the three previous goals;
     Distribution and dissemination of USDA climate change 
data, information, and technology to interested users;
     Decision support tools for policymakers, producers and 
land managers charged with implementing mechanisms for reducing GHG 
emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration, thereby increasing 
resilience of natural, agricultural, and forested ecosystems;
     Risk management paradigms to balance production, 
conservation and climate change, especially in light of uncertainty 
regarding the specifics of future climate and climate variability;
     Incorporation of GHG and carbon sequestration data into 
USDA data collection programs and data base systems.

Gerald A. Bange,
Chairman of the World Agricultural Outlook Board.
[FR Doc. E8-18112 Filed 8-5-08; 8:45 am]