Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework

Leslie Brandt
Posted on: 6/13/2013 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

Posted by

Patricia Leopold

Project Summary

The Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework covers 42 million acres of southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana within Ecological Province 223 (Central Interior Broadleaf Forest) of the National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units. Provinces are broad geographic areas that share similar coarse features, such as climate, glacial history, and vegetation types. The shaded area on the map shows the portion of Ecological Province 223 within the analysis area, a mosaic of natural communities characterized by oak-hickory forests, woodlands and savannas.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"21226","field_deltas":{"1":{}},"link_text":null,"fields":{},"attributes":{"height":220,"width":280,"class":"media-image media-element file-media-large","data-delta":"1"}}]]

A team representing federal and state land management agencies, private forest owners, conservation organizations, and others from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri have come together to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Provide a forum to share the experiences and lessons learned of managers and scientists regarding forest management and climate change in the Central Hardwoods region of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
  2. Develop new user-friendly tools that can help public and private land managers include climate change considerations in decision-making, including a forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and a forest adaptation resources document.
  3. Support efforts by public land managers, private landowners, and conservation organizations to put these new tools to work on the ground across the Central Hardwoods region.


The Climate Change Response Framework is a highly collaborative approach to helping land managers understand the potential effects of climate change on forest ecosystems and integrating climate change considerations into management. Since 2009, the Framework projects have worked to bridge the gap between scientific research on climate change impacts and on-the-ground management. There are currently three ecoregional Framework Projects that encompass 133 million acres in eight states, including 11 national forests. The Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework was launched in 2011.


There are multiple components of this project:

Partnerships are being established to bring together local forest owners, managers and others to discuss the ecological and management challenges of climate change and to evaluate opportunities for partnerships. Scientists and management partnerships are being developed to discuss available and needed research and monitoring of climate change and climate change impacts, and potential application of science across the Central Hardwoods region.

vulnerability assessment for the Central Hardwoods region was published in 2014. The vulnerability assessment focuses on vulnerabilities of individual tree species and natural community types within the region and uses gridded historical and modeled climate change information as well as several different approaches to modeling impacts on tree species. Key findings are summarized in a 4-page technical summary.

Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers provides perspectives, information, and tools to help managers incorporate climate change considerations into management and adapt forest ecosystems to a changing climate. This document is currently being revised for forests in the Central Hardwoods.

After completion of the vulnerability assessment and revision of the Forest Adaptation Resources, adaptation projects will provide real-world examples of forest management activities that incorporate climate change considerations and foster better-adapted forests, while meeting an array of management objectives.

Outcomes and Conclusions

A vulnerability assessment was completed in 2014. Current efforts focus on adaptation demonstration projects in the region. For more information, visit http://forestadaptation.org/central-hardwoods.


Brandt, L. (2013). Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework [Case study on a project of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science]. Ed. Rachel M. Gregg. Retrieved from CAKE: www.cakex.org/case-studies/central-hardwoods-climate-change-response-fr… (Last updated January 2019)

Project Contacts

Affiliated Organizations

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) has been designed as a collaborative effort among the Forest Service, universities, and forest industry to provide information on managing forests for climate change adaptation, enhanced carbon sequestration, and sustainable production of bioenergy and materials.