A Quick Guide to Adaptation Planning for Natural Resources Professionals

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: 11/22/2022 - Updated on: 12/26/2023

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This document was created by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science in collaboration with the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub. The Quick Guide was developed as an entry point to adaptation planning for natural resources professionals. It parallels an adaptation guide developed specifically for Land Trusts in collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance, A Quick Guide to Adaptation Planning for Land Trusts but has a slightly different focal audience. 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. This Quick Guide includes an updated "Short Version" of the Adaptation Workbook that was originally described in the Forest Adaptation Resources (Appendix 4).

Natural resources planning activities are constantly changing to accommodate new challenges, and it is becoming increasingly important that conservation and land management activities intentionally consider a changing and uncertain climate. This Quick Guide to Adaptation Planning for Natural Resources Professionals gives you a starting point to help you design and implement adaptation actions in your work, with a focus on the project level. 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 natural resources management. 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 your conservation priorities.


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 natural resources professionals. NRS-INF-41-22. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 14 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-INF-41-22.

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.

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."

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