Managing for Climate and Climate Impacts

The 5 Rs for adapting to climate change and managing the ecosystems of the future: resistance, resilience, response, realignment and reduce.


Connie Millar


Producer - Michael Furniss
Videography - Ben Nieves
Technical production - Jeffrey Guntle

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We offer a conceptual framework for managing forested ecosystems under an assumption that future environments will be different from the present but that we cannot be certain about the specifics. We encourage flexible approaches that promote taking reversible and incremental steps, and that favor ongoing learning and capacity to modify direction as situations change. We suggest that no single solution fits all future challenges, especially in the context of changing climates, and that the best strategy is to mix different approaches for different situations. Resource managers will be challenged to integrate adaptation strategies (actions that help ecosystems accommodate changes adaptively) and mitigation strategies (actions that enable ecosystems to reduce anthropogenic influences on global climate) into overall plans. Adaptive strategies include resistance options (forestall impacts and protect highly valued resources), resilience options (improve the capacity of ecosystems to return to desired conditions after disturbance), and response options (facilitate transition of ecosystems from current to new conditions). Mitigation strategies include options to sequester carbon and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Priority-setting approaches (e.g., triage), appropriate for rapidly changing conditions and for situations where needs are greater than available capacity to respond, will become increasingly important in the future.

You should gain an understanding of:

How to manage for climate and climate impacts, and how to embrace change in order to manage the ecosystems of the future.

Adaptation strategies including increasing resistance to change, promoting resilience to change, enabling ecosystems to respond to change, and realigning conditions to current dynamics.

Mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Priority setting with different approaches including tiered, triage and operational approaches.