Motive Project

Responding to Climate Change in National Forests: A Guidebook for Developing Adaptation Options

by: Ulla Vänttinen

A recent guidebook published by the by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station provides documentation of science-based principles, processes, and tools necessary for a credible and practical approach for adapting to climate change. The adaptation process is based on partnerships between local resource managers and scientists who work collaboratively to understand potential climate change effects, identify important resource issues, and develop management options that will help national forests meet their management mandate.

Despite uncertainties about the timing and magnitude of climate change effects, sufficient information exists to begin the adaptation process, a form of risk management. The following steps can be used to facilitate adaptation in national forests: (1) become aware of basic climate change science and integrate that understanding with knowledge of local resource conditions and issues, (2) evaluate sensitivity of specific natural resources to climate change, (3) develop and implement strategic and tactical options for adapting resources to climate change, and (4) monitor the effectiveness of adaptation options and adjust management as needed. Results of recent case studies on adaptation in national forests and national parks can facilitate integration of climate change in resource management and planning and make the adaptation process more efficient.

Responding to Climate Change in National Forests: A Guidebook for Developing Adaptation Options by David L. Peterson, Constance I. Millar, Linda A. Joyce, Michael J. Furniss, Jessica E. Halofsky, Ronald P. Neilson and Toni Lyn Morelli. 2011. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-855. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 109 p. Download your copy of the Guidebook at:

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