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Climate Change Adaptation is a form of risk management that many forests are implementing to stem the potential serious effects on forest ecosystem resources such as vegetation, fisheries, hydrology, infrastructure, and much more.

2022 Forest Service Climate Adaptation Plan

The Forest Service Climate Adaptation Plan presents a comprehensive approach to integrating climate change adaptation into the Forest Service’s operations and mission. This plan outlines key climate risks to the agency’s operations and critical adaptation actions to reduce these risks and help ensure the Forest Service continues to meet the needs of present and future generations. It builds on the strong foundation of decades of Forest Service research on climate change impacts and adaptation and over a decade of effort in climate adaptation decision support, planning application, and on-the-ground actions.

Collaboration Enhances Adaptation

Climate change knows no boundaries. The Climate Change Response Framework is a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resource management. Since 2009, the effort has helped bridge the gap between scientific research on climate change impacts and on-the-ground land management.

Similarly, the Adaptation Partners team led by the Forest Service uses an all-lands approach to adaptation in collaboration with a diversity of other organizations and stakeholders for western forests and grasslands. 

Forest Adaptation Resources for Land Managers

Adaptation Options

There are many adaptation options for managing ecosystems to help land managers cope with the negative effects of climate change. Adaptation options can be grouped into three categories:

  • Resistance options improve the defenses of an ecosystem against anticipated changes, so the system stay relatively unchanged.
  • Resilience options enhance the ability of an ecosystem to return to prior conditions after disturbance.
  • Transition options intentionally accommodate change and enable ecosystems to adaptively respond and adjust to future conditions in a deliberate way.

The Guidebook to Developing Adaptation Options was developed by the Forest Service to summarize current knowledge on climate change adaptation and produce a suggested outline for adaptation planning.

Adaptation Workbook

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science created the Adaptation Workbook as an online, interactive version of the practical workbook published in Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers. The Adaptation Workbook helps a wide variety of forest managers and natural resource professionals connect their land management goals to practical, ready-to-use information on climate change impacts and adaptation actions.

Adaptation Examples

See examples of how national forests and grasslands are adapting to climate change through a variety of management strategies and tactics.