Translating Broad Climate Change Information to Meaningful Scales

There is a growing interest among forest managers for integrating information about anticipated climate impacts and risks into management planning and activities. Vulnerability assessments can serve a critical role in this integration by providing credible, high-quality information at the scales most relevant to management. Most importantly, vulnerability assessments can increase the availability and use of complex scientific information by synthesizing key impacts and their implications in a manner that is more accessible to natural resource professionals than the existing scientific literature. We developed a process for creating climate change vulnerability assessments at the ecoregion level in order to inform management planning and actions. At the core of this process were “expert panels” of research scientists and forest practitioners that worked together to consider wide-ranging information from the scientific literature and the results of multiple forest impact models, as well as their personal experience and expertise on local ecosystems. This process has so far been applied to five assessment areas in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, covering more than 135 million acres, and is continuing to be applied across an even greater area. Most importantly, these assessments fulfill a critical need among managers wanting to consider the effects of climate change on the forests that they manage. 
Society of American Foresters 2015 National Convention Poster