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USDA Forest Service Region 4 Science Partner Program: Integrating climate change research into the Manti-La Sal plan revision process

August, 2016

National Forests managers and planners have expressed challenges with accessing and properly using climate change information. RMRS researcher Charlie Luce and Forest Service Intermountain Region Climate Change Coordinator Natalie Little are partnering with one of the Manti-La Sal National Forest's wildlife biologists, Tiffany Cummins, to better distribute the most recent and relevant climate change knowledge to Regional and Forest leaders and staffs. This team actively works to remove barriers obstructing a clear understanding of climate change information.



With climate change being a complex and quickly changing field of work, this partnership creates communication byways and feedback loops to quickly communicate information and develop new research ideas and opportunities that directly benefit on-the-ground project implementation. All three team members have worked to create liaison opportunities between the Washington Office, Regional Office, RMRS, and Forests in order to integrate climate change information throughout different processes that include Forest Plan Revision and climate change workshops.

This team has been an integral part of the Intermountain Adaptation Partnership (IAP) and the resulting General Technical Report (GTR). More information may be found at:


Mountain meadow with wildflowers on the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Wildflowers in the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Since August 2016, the team has been working together to create ways to make climate change data more understandable and usable. To help deliver up-to-date climate change research, the team held a workshop for regional and Forest staff to quickly integrate interactive planning climate change sessions into the Manti-La Sal National Forest's Forest Plan Revision. In addition, the partnership aides employees on how to better access research on climate change. The goal of this RMRS-Region 4 partnership is to deliver usable, actionable information to land managers and Forest staffs to provide research that is most helpful in the field.




Understanding the data gaps, down-scaled maps were created for the Manti-La Sal to use in their Forest Plan Revision process. These maps were also then developed for all of the Forests in the lower 48 of the United States Forest Service.  The maps may be accessed at:

Charlie Luce
Charlie Luce Talking about FS Climate Change Maps.

Planned Next Steps:

  • The team is on the Science Partners planning committee that is organizing the next in-person meeting on October 23-25, 2018 in Ogden, Utah.
  • With Region 4 having multiple Forests in the Forest Plan Revision process, this team continues to provide climate change information, knowledge, and guidance, including in both research and processes, at national, regional, and forest levels.
  • The team continues to work on ways to integrate climate change research into resource management and decision-making processes.

National Strategic Program Areas: 
Resource Management and Use
National Priority Research Areas: 
Climate Change
RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Human Dimensions

Tiffany Cummins - Manti-La Sal National Forest
Natalie Little - Region 4 Regional Office