Adaptation strategies and approaches for forested watersheds

P. Danielle Shannon, Christopher W. Swanston, Maria K. Janowiak, Stephen D. Handler, Kristen M. Schmitt, Leslie A.Brandt, Patricia R.Butler-Leopold. Todd Ontl
Posted on: 10/30/2020 - Updated on: 11/02/2020

Posted by

Leslie Brandt



Intentional climate adaptation planning for ecosystems has become a necessary part of the job for natural resource managers and natural resource professionals in this era of non-stationarity. One of the major challenges in adapting ecosystems to climate change is in the translation of broad adaptation concepts to specific, tangible actions. Addressing management goals and values while considering the long-term risks associated with local climate change can make forested watershed management plans more robust to uncertainty and changing conditions. We provide a menu of tiered adaptation strategies, which we developed with a focus on forests of the Midwest and Northeastern U.S., as part of a flexible framework to support the integration of climate change considerations into forested watershed management and conservation activities. This menu encapsulates ideas from the literature into statements that signify climate adaptation intention and provide examples of associated tactics to help ground the concepts in specific actions. Finally, we describe two demonstration projects, shared through the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science’s Climate Change Response Framework, that have used this Forested Watershed Adaptation Menu and Adaptation Workbook in project-level planning.


    Shannon, P. Danielle, Christopher W. Swanston, Maria K. Janowiak, Stephen D. Handler, Kristen M. Schmitt, Leslie A. Brandt, Patricia R. Butler-Leopold, and Todd Ontl. 2019. "Adaptation strategies and approaches for forested watersheds." Climate Services

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    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.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."