A Quick Guide to Adaptation Planning for Land Trusts

Maria Janowiak, Danielle Shannon, Kristen Schmitt, Madeline Baroli, Leslie Brandt, Stephen Handler, Patricia Butler-Leopold, Todd Ontl, Courtney Peterson, Annamarie Rutledge, Chris Swanston
Posted on: 12/26/2023 - Updated on: 12/26/2023

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Land trust activities are constantly changing to accommodate new challenges, and it’s becoming increasingly important that conservation and stewardship activities intentionally consider a changing and uncertain climate. 

This Quick Start Guide to Adaptation Planning for Land Trusts gives you a starting point to help you design and implement adaptation actions in your work, with a special eye toward stewardship activities. It draws on the five-step Adaptation Workbook process to help you consider how climate change will affect your lands and your associated goals for land conservation and stewardship. By intentionally considering the potential impacts, challenges, and opportunities from climate change, you can then use this lens to identify actions that enable ecosystems to cope with stressors and adapt to changing conditions, while also addressing conservation priorities.

This guide was developed to support land trusts and serve as a stepping stone for the process of adaptation planning. Information from this toolkit was adapted from the USDA Forest Service report, Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers, 2nd Edition and Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast.


Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, Danielle; Schmitt, Kristen; Baroli, Madeline; Brandt, Leslie; Handler, Stephen; Butler-Leopold, Patricia; Ontl, Todd; Peterson, Courtney; Rutledge, Annamarie; Swanston, Chris. 2022. A quick guide to adaptation planning for land trusts. NRS-INF-40-22. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 14 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-INF-40-22.

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