Science-management partnerships focused on climate change adaptation in the western United States
Led by the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies, Adaptation Partners use an all-lands approach to adaptation in collaboration with a diversity of other organizations and stakeholders. Their adaptation efforts are intended to inform sustainable management of natural resources, reduce the negative effects of climate change, transition ecosystems to a warmer climate, and help integrate climate change in natural resource management and operations.
Building on previous work across large landscapes and multiple federal agencies, Adaptation Partners uses the approach developed by Forest Service Research and Development and supported by the Climate Change Advisor’s Office and Regional leadership (Peterson et al. 2011, Swanston & Janowiak 2012). This approach is premised on an enduring science-management partnership as the foundation for all projects. The partnership pursues four primary objectives:
- Provide climate education for resource management staff and other stakeholders;
- Conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment for multiple resources;
- Develop an adaptation strategy to address climate change sensitivities;
- Implement climate-informed practices in long-term planning and management.
This process is typically directed by teams of research scientists and resource managers who focus on priorities established by leadership in each management unit. Vulnerability assessments identify resource sensitivities to climatic variability and change. Far more than a literature review, assessments synthesize the best available science, evaluate the quality and relevance of the science for each application, and identify geographic locations where sensitivity is high. Assessments provide the foundation for developing adaptation options that help mitigate negative effects of climate change or transition resources to a warmer climate.
Contribution to CCRC Adaptation Approaches
The Adaptation Partners' approaches on CCRC were derived from climate change vulnerability assessments conducted by Adaptation Partners, which collaborates with a diversity of organizations and stakeholders to develop multi-resource assessments. A science-management partnership including research scientists and natural resource specialists provides a foundation for all projects. Adaptation options are intended to inform sustainable management of natural resources, reduce the negative effects of climate change, transition ecosystems to a warmer climate, and help integrate climate change in natural resource management, planning, and business operations of federal land management agencies.
Adaptation Partners has elicited expertise on management responses to climate change from land managers in the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and other organizations throughout the western United States. Approaches developed by Adaptation Partners that are included in the CCRC Adaptation Approaches were developed by resource specialists during workshops convened to examine climate change vulnerability assessments. During these workshops, land managers identified (1) the most important climate change sensitivities to natural resources, (2) general strategies for adapting to climate change, and (3) within each strategy, specific tactics that can be implemented in on-the-ground management.