Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
In the South Central United States, climate changes are already impacting natural and cultural resources, from increased maximum summer temperatures and extended droughts across the region to the effects of sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Spatial and temporal changes in the south central's climate are linked to changes in biodiversity; key wildlife feeding, breeding, and nesting habitats; water quantity and quality; wetland quality and extent; coastal erosion and inundation; stream sedimentation and flow; range and density of heritage and invasive species; cultural and natural landscapes; pathogen outbreaks; and health of ecosystem services.
The SC CSC has compiled a list of the 10 most frequently recognized science priorities or issues for South Central CSC conservation partners that will drive the CSC's regional science program (while the SC CSC research agenda is not limited to only these items, the list of priorities provides a framework for the center's annual planning process):
1. Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, Resiliency, and Vulnerability Assessments
2. Climate Change Effects on Ecosystems
3. Hydrologic Response to Climate Change
4. Climate Change Effect on Human Populations, Socioeconomics, Urbanization, Cultural Resources, and Agricultural Issues
5. Improved Monitoring Networks for Resources Affected by Climate Change and Management Actions
6. Improved Management and Sharing of Climate Change and Geospatial Data
7. Imperiled and Rare Communities and Invasive Species
8. Coastal Response to Sea-Level Rise and Changing Geomorphology
9. Biological Response to Climate Change and Disturbance, Conservation Design and Delivery
10. Land-Use and Land-Cover Change
The research direction taken by the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) is guided by theSC CSC Strategic Science Plan for 2013-2018. This document describes the role and interactions of the SC CSC among its partners and stakeholders, clarifies the responsibilities of the Center to its partners, defines a context for climate impacts in the SC CSC region, and establishes the science priorities that the Center will address through research.
In developing the Strategic Science Plan, the SC CSC received advice and guidance from its Stakeholder Advisory Committee that is composed of senior-level Federal and State executives, and tribal leaders from the region. The SC CSC also periodically receives guidance from a panel of technical reviewers that assists with independent scientific review of projects comprising the NE CSC research program.