Overview & Applicability
The online Adaptation Workbook takes users through a structured process designed to consider the potential effects of climate change and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The process is flexible and can accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems and land uses, management goals, and project sizes. The Workbook consists of 5 basic steps:
- Define goals and objectives
- Assess climate impacts and vulnerabilities
- Evaluate objectives while considering climate impacts
- Identify adaptation approaches and tactics for implementation
- Monitor effectiveness of implemented actions
The end product is a custom adaptation plan, organized according to user-supplied management goals and objectives.
The Workbook is designed for land managers and natural resource professionals, but can be used by anyone with clear management goals and knowledge about their ecosystem of interest. The Workbook is designed to accommodate projects in three different sectors: forestry, urban forestry, and agriculture. It relies heavily on the expertise of natural resource professionals and landowners, and is designed to complement existing management planning systems, not replace them.
The Adaptation Workbook was developed by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS), as a part of the Climate Change Response Framework, a collaborative effort to support climate-informed forest management and conservation.
The online Adaptation Workbook is an interactive version of the workbook featured in Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd Edition. The online version was developed and launched in 2014 to make the Workbook process more interactive and self-guided, with downloadable resources and examples to accompany each step of the process. The online version underwent review and testing from forestry, conservation, and education specialists before release. In 2016, the site was expanded to accommodate projects from anywhere in the world, and to support urban forestry and agriculture projects.
Partners that have supported the online version of the Adaptation Workbook include Michigan Technological University, the USDA Forest Service and the USDA Climate Hubs.
Inputs and outputs
The online Adaptation Workbook requires substantial information inputs from the user, drawing upon their understanding and knowledge of the property or topic of interest. Before beginning the process, it may be helpful to assemble information about the property including management plans, maps, or forest inventory data.
The Workbook is designed to lead the user through a series of questions, and the user is prompted with additional information, guidance and tutorials throughout. The typed responses provided by the user forms the custom adaptation management plan exported at the end of the application.
- The user provides basic information about the property of interest (size, location, ownership)
- The user defines the key forest types, land uses, or management topics, that they want to address in their adaptation plan.
- The user provides descriptions of management goals and objectives for the property
- Based on geographic location and selection of forest types, the Workbook generates potential climate impacts for the area of interest*. The user provides descriptions of how climate change impacts might specifically affect the property and corresponding ecosystem services.
- The Workbook leads the user through a process to evaluate management goals and objectives in light of climate change, addressing both the challenges and opportunities that climate change might pose on their management activities
- The Workbook provides a platform for the user to develop and evaluate custom adaptation actions that may help adapt to expected conditions
- The Workbook helps the user develop a monitoring plan to see if adaptation actions were effective
The end result is a written plan containing each of these elements that can be exported and downloaded as a PDF document.
*General climate change information is drawn from the National Climate Assessment (2014) regional reports, and Forest Service Region 9 has additional information drawn from the NIACS-led forest vulnerability assessments within this 20-state region. Visit www.forestadaptation.org for more information regarding these vulnerability assessments.
Restrictions and limitations
- The Workbook is not intended to provide specific guidance or replace other forms of management planning. Rather, it relies on the experience and expertise of natural resource professionals and landowners and is meant to complement existing management planning and decision-making systems
- The Workbook requires a substantial amount of input from the user and user knowledge (of the ecosystem, management techniques). The quality of the final plan will depend on the quality of information provided by the user
- The online Workbook is mostly text-based; all work is auto-saved by the application every few seconds. Before beginning, users should be prepared to type and read, using a computer screen that is large enough to read clearly, in a comfortable workspace
- The Workbook process may take several hours or longer, depending on the complexity of the project and user familiarity with climate change information
Accessing the tool and additional information
Please review the About and the How to Use information before starting the online Workbook: http://www.adaptationworkbook.org/. Additional support on climate-informed forest planning and conservation efforts can be found at www.forestadaptation.org. The Workbook is also available for agriculture, which is described in Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast.
There are downloadable resources and examples that accompany each step of the process as you work through the tool. Navigate to the tool tips and info icons provided within the application to find additional resources.
The online Adaptation workbook was modified from:
Swanston, Chris; Janowiak, Maria, eds. 2012. Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-87. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.121 p
Swanston, Chris; Janowiak, Maria, eds. 2016. Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd edition. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-87-2. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.161 p
Janowiak, Maria, Daniel Dostie, Michael Wilson, Michael Kucera, R. Howard Skinner, Jerry Hatfield, David Hollinger, and Chris Swanston. 2016. Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to climate variability and change in the Midwest and Northeast. Tech. Bulletin 1944. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 70p.
To see examples of real-world projects that have used the Adaptation Workbook for climate change planning, visit http://forestadaptation.org/demonstration-projects.