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

David L. Peterson, Constance I. Millar, Linda A. Joyce, Michael J. Furniss, Jessica E. Halofsky, Ronald P. Neilson, and Toni Lyn Morelli
Created: 7/25/2017 -

Published On

Abstract

This guidebook contains science-based principles, processes, and tools necessary to assist with developing adaptation options for national forest lands. 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 can capitalize on new opportunities and reduce deleterious effects. Because management objectives and sensitivity of resources to climate change differ among national forests, appropriate processes and tools for developing adaptation options may also differ. Regardless of specific processes and tools, the following steps are recommended: (1) become aware of basic climate change science and integrate that understanding with knowledge of local resource conditions and issues (review), (2) evaluate sensitivity of specific natural resources to climate change (rank), (3) develop and implement strategic and tactical options for adapting resources to climate change (resolve), and (4) monitor the effectiveness of adaptation options (observe) 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. Adaptation to climate change will be successful only if it can be fully implemented in established planning processes and other operational aspects of national forest management.