Our Approach

Climate change introduces uncertainty about future conditions, which creates additional challenges for land owners and natural resource managers who are interested in sustaining healthy forests over the long term. Our approach is designed to provide important information about the interactions of climate change and forests, and then help integrate this information into diverse types of management decisions. 

Adaptation is taking action to enhance the ability of ecosystems to thrive in future conditions, but there is not a single answer for how to best adapt to climate change. Adaptation responses will vary by location based upon the magnitude of climate impacts, the inherent resilience of ecosystems, the values and resources of local communities, and many other factors that demand unique responses suited to local conditions.

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 has bridged the gap between scientific research on climate change impacts and on-the-ground natural resource management.

There are currently 6 Framework Projects that encompass 246 million acres in 19 states, including 14 National Forests. These Framework Projects are centered around large ecoregions: Central Appalachians, Central Hardwoods, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Northwoods and Urban. Each of these project areas use the same general process, and four primary components.

The Framework stretches across the boundaries of partners to invite participation of forestlands owned and managed by private individuals, forest industry, tribes, state, local, and federal agencies. The Framework was initiated with a joint commitment of the US Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Eastern Region to work closely together in addressing the challenges of climate change. It is led by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. The hallmark of the Framework, however, is the high level of cross-boundary cooperation among forest owners, which is essential to coping with an issue that spans borders, disciplines, and perspectives.

The Climate Change Response Framework is supported in large part by the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Eastern Region, and Northeastern Area.

Beginning 2014, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science will collaborate with the USDA, US Forest Service and other partners to support the USDA Regional Climate Hubs in the Midwest and Northeast. The focus of this collaboration and effort will be to serve the forest sector in these areas, with the development, and delivery of key information, and resources related to climate change.