Science-based Forest Management in an Era of Climate Change

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Christopher Swanston1, Maria Janowiak1, Leslie Brandt2, Patricia Butler3, Stephen Handler1 and Danielle Shannon3, (1)US Forest Service Houghton, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, Houghton, MI, United States, (2)US Forest Service St. Paul, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, St. Paul, MN, United States, (3)Michigan Technological University, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, Houghton, MI, United States
Recognizing the need to provide climate adaptation information, training, and tools to forest managers, the Forest Service joined with partners in 2009 to launch a comprehensive effort called the Climate Change Response Framework (www.forestadaptation.org). The Framework provides a structured approach to help managers integrate climate considerations into forest management plans and then implement adaptation actions on the ground. A planning tool, the Adaptation Workbook, is used in conjunction with vulnerability assessments and a diverse “menu” of adaptation approaches to generate site-specific adaptation actions that meet explicit management objectives. Additionally, a training course, designed around the Adaptation Workbook, leads management organizations through this process of designing on-the-ground adaptation tactics for their management projects.

The Framework is now being actively pursued in 20 states in the Northwoods, Central Hardwoods, Central Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic, and New England. The Framework community includes over 100 science and management groups, dozens of whom have worked together to complete six ecoregional vulnerability assessments covering nearly 135 million acres. More than 75 forest and urban forest adaptation strategies and approaches were synthesized from peer-reviewed and gray literature, expert solicitation, and on-the-ground adaptation projects. These are being linked through the Adaptation Workbook process to on-the-ground adaptation tactics being planned and employed in more than 50 adaptation “demonstrations”. This presentation will touch on the scientific and professional basis of the vulnerability assessments, and showcase efforts where adaptation actions are currently being implemented in forests.