Guam Climate Forum

What are the Climate Forums?

Guam Extension Climate Forum Report

October 26-27, 2017

Guam Hyatt Regency, Tumon, Guam

by Patricia Fifita and Clay Trauernicht

People Participated at the Guam Climate Forum
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Given the current impacts of climate change in Guam and the relative uncertainty of what is to come, the Guam Extension Climate Forum was initiated and designed to strategically engage farmers, natural resource managers and environmental agencies and cooperative extension and outreach in a critical dialog around the sustainability of agricultural production and livelihoods, food security and locally-based climate adaptation efforts in Guam under a changing climate.

Climate change poses significant challenges to food production, natural resources management, and public health. Initiatives like ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture” (e.g., FAO, UNDP) and the growing field of ‘Climate Services’ are emerging globally to provide stakeholders (producers, managers, communities) with better climate-related information and solutions to cope with increasing climate variability. The long-term relationships and diverse professional networks cultivated by Cooperative Extension faculty places them in a unique and critical position to help clients and stakeholders sustain and improve food security, ecosystem services, and local health and livelihoods in the face of climate change. The intent of the Guam Extension Climate Forum was to engage Cooperative Extension faculty in critical dialogue about the impacts of climate change on agriculture and natural resources in Guam and the potential opportunities to integrate climate adaptation and mitigation into extension programming. The two-day event was in response to capacity building needs identified by Hawaii and Pacific Island participants at the SW Extension Climate Change Conference held December 2016 in Tucson, Arizona funded by a USDA-NIFA grant and the USDA Climate Hubs.

The central aims of the forum were to:

  1. Develop foundational knowledge of regional climate change science
  2. Identify locally relevant strategies for climate adaptation and communication
  3. Incorporate climate-related information and tools into CES programs
If you are interested in attending future Climate Forums in American Samoa, CNMI (Northern Marianas), Guam, or Hawai’i, please contact Clay Trauernacht ([email protected]) or Patricia Fifita ([email protected]).
The Extension really helped me a lot because...
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Extension Agent
I would recommend attending the Climate Forums because...
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Challenges to Integrating Climate-Related Information into Programs

Throughout the Forum, various presenters and participants identified climate-related challenges:

  • overall lack of support
  • lack of predictive models in agricultural sector
  • getting people involved in producing enough food
  • soil erosion in higher parts of Guam and getting enough resources to mitigate the problem
  • limited knowledge of climate science among extension agents
  • lack of government policy/laws that are pro-environment, rather than development
  • balance between large scale implications vs. watering down technical information about climate change for public audiences

Strategies and Practices to Address Concerns

Forum participants shared some of the ways in which their existing programs are currently contributing to climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • providing climate science
  • research, outreach, extension education
  • crop rotation, windbreaks, year-round crop planting and harvesting
  • reviewing proposed projects related to development and tailor them to be aligned with the local environment
  • incorporated into coral reef threats of Guam during training and in field work, Eyes of the Reef Marianas program training incorporates aspects of response to climate change impacts (e.g. bleaching)


How can the Extension help to Contribute to Climate Adaptation and Mitigation?

Forum participants shared some of the ways in which their existing programs can contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • provide more resources in an easily understandable way
  • outreach to the general public, interest groups and politicians
  • outreach, technical assistance programs, extension education
  • soil health
  • as part of the mitigation, reforestation and forest protection to minimize erosion
  • encouraging clientele to share aspects of climate change and mitigation at home, in the office, or at work that reduces carbon emission

Key Questions impacting your clients or resources

  • How to plan and implement if “refugees” come to Guam if their island is no longer inhabitable
  • changes in wind direction and patterns to possibly predict typhoons
  • often mitigation relates to the environment and positive results much later, how do we show developers, etc. how important their current projects are on the larger scale?
  • How to better communicate CO2 scenarios to a broad community audience? This is what makes mitigation and adaptation compelling but models can quickly lose the audience


Read the Extension Climate Forum for the full report.

For resources specific to climate in Guam, visit the Guam Climate Resources Page.

guam climate forum report screenshot