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Sustainability and Climate

A picture of the Fourth National Climate Assessment website.
Fourth National Climate Assessment

Every four years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program conducts a National Climate Assessment for major resource sectors in the United States.  A team of scientists from the U.S. Forest Service contributed to the Forest sector.

A picture of the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5 degrees website
Global Warming of 1.5°C | IPCC Special Report

A report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

A picture of the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report website.
Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report

The report provides a current state-of-the-science assessment of the carbon cycle in North America and its connection to climate and society.

The Forest Service is a steward of many of our Nation’s most treasured landscapes, and within those landscapes are resources that people need and want, such as clean air and water, recreational opportunities and forest products. Impacts from climate change, extreme weather, and other disturbances—along with changing human demands—challenge our ability to ensure that ecosystems are healthy, resilient, and more adaptable to changing conditions. The Forest Service is adjusting behaviors and actions by using the best available science and information to ensure our forests and grasslands continue to deliver values, products, and services both now and in the future.

The Forest Service is leading multiple efforts across the agency to achieve consistent approaches in sustainability and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. These projects support and grow the existing network of field-based employees who facilitate our agency’s response to sustainability and climate change. The outcomes of this work provide tools, learning laboratories, and pilots that result in corporate implementation and adoption of sustainable and climate resilience actions.


Drought has affected millions of Americans and poses a threat to the security and resilience of communities, as well as to the foundation of the ecological services that flow from the Nation’s forests and grasslands.The effects of drought on national forests are of particular concern because about 20 percent of the Nation’s clean drinking water originates from national forests. In the U.S. about 180 million people rely on forested lands to capture and filter their drinking water. Learn more about drought

Vulnerability Assessments

Climate change vulnerability assessments bring together scientific research and observations from multiple disciplines to identify and quantify the expected impacts of climate change. These assessments can focus on understanding current and predicted climate changes and what is causing them, the consequences of climate change, and/or the response options. They can vary greatly in their scope, from addressing climate change globally to looking at a specific location or resource. Learn more about vulnerability assessments


As we continue to face new challenges brought about by climate change it is important that we consider these effects in our planning and decision making. Today, the Forest Service is working to ensure that our national forests and grasslands are prepared for upcoming changes in climate through adaptation and mitigation. Learn more about adaptation


The U.S Forest Service is a leader in developing tools for carbon assessment, management, and forest carbon cycle science. The Forest Service champions the principles of considering carbon and other benefits together, integrating climate adaptation and mitigation, and balancing carbon uptake and storage in a wide range of ecosystem services. Learn more about carbon