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  1. We integrated a mechanistic wildfire simulation system with an agent-based landscape change model to investigate the feedbacks among climate change, population growth, development, landowner decision-making, vegetative succession, and wildfire. Our goal was to develop an adaptable simulation platform for anticipating risk-mitigation tradeoffs in a fire-prone wildland–urban interface (WUI) facing conditions outside the bounds of experience. We describe how five social and ecological system (SES) submodels interact over time and space to generate highly variable alternative futures even within the same scenario as stochastic elements in simulated wildfire, succession, and landowner decisions create large sets of unique, path-dependent futures for analysis. We applied the modeling system to an 815 km2 study area in western Oregon at a sub-taxlot parcel grain and annual timestep, generating hundreds of alternative futures for 2007–2056 (50 years) to explore how WUI communities facing compound risks from increasing wildfire and expanding periurban development can situate and assess alternative risk management approaches in their localized SES context. The ability to link trends and uncertainties across many futures to processes and events that unfold in individual futures is central to the modeling system. By contrasting selected alternative futures, we illustrate how assessing simulated feedbacks between wildfire and other SES processes can identify tradeoffs and leverage points in fire-prone WUI landscapes. Assessments include a detailed “post-mortem” of a rare, extreme wildfire event, and uncovered, unexpected stabilizing feedbacks from treatment costs that reduced the effectiveness of agent responses to signs of increasing risk. 
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  2. Abstract

    Projected changes in air temperature, precipitation, and vapor pressure for the Willamette River Basin (Oregon, USA) over the next century will have significant impacts on the river basin water balance, notably on the amount of evapotranspiration (ET). Mechanisms of impact on ET will be both direct and indirect, but there is limited understanding of their absolute and relative magnitudes. Here, we developed a spatially explicit, daily time‐step, modeling infrastructure to simulate the basin‐wide water balance that accounts for meteorological influences, as well as effects mediated by changing vegetation cover type, leaf area, and ecophysiology. Three CMIP5 climate scenarios (Lowclim, Reference, and HighClim) were run for the 2010–2100 period. Besides warmer temperatures, the climate scenarios were characterized by wetter winters and increasing vapor pressure deficits. In the mid‐range Reference scenario, our landscape simulation model (Envision) projected a continuation of forest cover on the uplands but a threefold increase in area burned per year. A decline (12–30%) in basin‐wide mean leaf area index (LAI) in forests was projected in all scenarios. The lower LAIs drove a corresponding decline in ET. In a sensitivity test, the effect of increasing CO2on stomatal conductance induced a further substantial decrease (11–18%) in basin‐wide mean ET. The net effect of decreases in ET and increases in winter precipitation was an increase in annual streamflow. These results support the inclusion of changes in land cover, land use, LAI, and ecophysiology in efforts to anticipate impacts of climate change on basin‐scale water balances.

     
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