The Northwoods

The Northwoods region includes 64 million acres spanning northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan

Forests and other ecosystems in this region provide important cultural, economic, and environmental benefits. Warmer and more variable conditions are already having an impact on the region’s forests, including increasing damage from extreme precipitation events and insect pests. Future changes could dramatically alter the Northwoods landscape.

Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessments describe climate change risks and opportunities for forests under a range of future climate scenarios. For each assessment we used two global climate models, three forest impact models, hundreds of scientific papers, and forest manager expertise were combined to assess the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems. More than 30 scientists and forest managers contributed to each assessment.

We developed three vulnerability assessments for this region

Northern Minnesota
Vulnerability Assessment | Field Guide | Summary & Highlights

Northern Wisconsin/Western Upper Michigan 
Vulnerability Assessment | Field Guide | Summary & Highlights

Northern Lower Michigan/Eastern Upper Michigan
Vulnerability Assessment | Field Guide | Summary & Highlights

Covers of the field guides that are currently available for the Northwoods

Field Guides

We created quick reference guides on Northwoods forests and climate change that are designed to be used in the field. These field guides highlight key information from published Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessments and also help managers think about site-level considerations that affect climate change risks. We hope these guides will help keep climate change information at a manager's fingertips and inform intentional climate adaptation actions. Download each guide at the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub website.

Climate Change Field Guide for Northern Minnesota Forests

Climate Change Field Guide for Northern Wisconsin Forests

Climate Change Field Guide for Southern Wisconsin Forests

Climate Change Field Guide for Northern Michigan Forests

Featured Resources

Climate Change Projections for Tree Species

The region's forests will be affected by a changing climate during this century, but individual tree species will respond uniquely to climate change, depending on their particular silvics and ecological tolerances. These handouts summarize general climate change projections for tree species across the region based on future projections. The general trends derived from these models can be combined with local knowledge and management experience to judge risk on a particular site.

Forest Climate and Action scorecards

These booklets are designed to help private landowners consider climate change in the context of their woods, and also to help landowners effectively talk with consulting foresters about their goals, potential risks, and actions they would like to take. This booklet contains four separate "Scorecards" to help landowners think about forests at a property-level, focused on topics such as forest diversity, structure, regeneration, and other factors. Each Scorecard is accompanied by a list of Climate-informed Actions that might help landowners address the greatest risks.

Work with us

The vulnerability assessment provides critical information about how climate change is expected to affect this region and serves as a starting point for other Framework activities.