Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments

Childs Glacier

Climate change has been influencing the planet at an increasing rate for the past 30 years, and is projected to continue to accelerate in its effects.  A conclusion of the report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (2009) is that “global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.”  The potential effects of climate change, to use a poor play on words, are chilling.  While solutions to global warming are far beyond the feasibility or responsibility of the Alaska Region of the Forest Service, it will only be through cooperative efforts by all parties that effective measures can be developed and implemented.  Collaboration and partnerships will be essential for effective actions.  Anticipating, planning, and mitigating impacts of climate change are necessary to minimize their potential consequences.  For these reasons, the Alaska Region should take serious and concerted actions to address this complex but imperative challenge.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest
and the Kenai Peninsula (draft)

In 2012, the Chugach National Forest began writing a climate vulnerability assessment to support land management planning. A partnership was developed with other agencies, scientists, and resource management practitioners resulting in a collaborative assessment project based on an all-lands perspective. The resulting synthesis is contained in the draft Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest
and the Kenai Peninsula report. 

The draft report includes an introductory chapter describing the goal of the assessment and background on the ecological and social environment of the assessment area. The introduction is followed by a review of past, current, and potential future climate for this region. Following these introductory chapters the report explores the potential consequences of climate change for: (1) snowpack, glaciers, and winter recreation; (2) coastal landscapes and associated environments, (3) vegetation, (4) salmon, and (5) a select set of wildlife species. This assessment will be published and become available in a single document as an U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report by the Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Climate Change Assessment for Alaska Region report

The Climate Change Assessment for Alaska Region report summarizes potential impacts that are likely from predicted climate change in southern Alaska, identifies on-going collaborative efforts directed at climate change, and suggests some possible responses that the Alaska Region could take to address this challenge.  This report does identifies the breadth of potential impacts and provide primary sources of information. While specific climate change impacts to the Chugach and Tongass National Forests are the specific focus in this report, a section that discusses State and Private Forestry and its role in assisting with climate change impacts on forests at the state level is included, potential impacts of climate change on forests in other areas of Alaska and an associated list of climate change initiatives and partnership opportunities have not been included.   

Climate Change Assessment for Alaska Region report

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest
and the Kenai Peninsula