Concerned about the effect of climate change on National Parks in the eastern US, staff from the National Park Service (NPS) Climate Change Response Program led the development of climate change vulnerability assessments for several National Parks in the eastern U.S., including Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. These assessments provided park-level details regarding potential forest response to climate, differences in habitat projections among models, and nonnative biotic stressors (tree pests and diseases and invasive plants). The assessment for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller provided locally-specific information about the climate change and forest pest vulnerability of the Mount Tom Forest, including the historic plantations.
Following the collection of scientific information about climate change and the Park, a workshop was held in May 2014 to integrate this information into Park activities and develop potential actionable steps to adapt forests at the Park to changing conditions. Participants represented the Park, the NPS Climate Change Response Program, the NPS Northeast Temperate Network I&M program, the NPS Northeast Region Office, Redstart Consulting, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, the US Forest Service, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
Workshop participants used the Adaptation Workbook process from the Climate Change Response Framework to put the scientific information into a context useful for management. They first considered the information about climate change impacts on the Park from the vulnerability assessment. They the then explored the opportunities and challenges to meeting the Park’s management goals and objectives under changing conditions. After identifying the most important impacts, challenges, and opportunities associated with climate change, workshop participants identified a number of potential adaptation actions to enhance the ability of the Park’s forests to cope with changing conditions.
The results from the workshop were integrated into the final vulnerability assessment for the Park and adaptation activities are part of a Climate Change Response Framework adaptation demonstration.