Woods trail

Land Trusts

Land trust activities are constantly changing to accommodate new challenges, and it’s becoming increasingly important that conservation and stewardship activities intentionally consider a changing and uncertain climate. Land trusts and conservation organizations play critical roles in local communities by acquiring lands, practicing sustainable conservation, offering recreation opportunities, and building awareness of natural resources benefits and challenges. Land Trusts have a unique opportunity to intentionally address climate adaptation and carbon mitigation in planning that can achieve impacts across a larger landscape than can typically achieved by a single landowner. 

The Land Trust Alliance is a partner in this effort. Learn more about the LTA Climate program

Contact us with questions. 

Download the "quick guide" to adaptation planning for land trusts

Effects from climate change

The effects of climate change on ecosystems will depend on local climate trends and the capacity of ecosystems to adapt. Vulnerability of an ecosystem to regional climate changes can be influenced by many factors, including soils, topography, location in the watershed, and current and past land uses.

Climate change vulnerability assessments describe key impacts to forests and ecosystems and can help land trusts consider and characterize site vulnerability. 

Regional forest ecosystem vulnerability assessments

Regional wetland and natural community vulnerability assessments

Browse climate impacts across the U.S. (external link)


Climate change science and modeling: What you need to know: If you're a little rusty on the basics of climate change and need a refresher, we'd recommend this self-paced 15-20 minute tutorial.

Look to the Land: Carbon Management in Forests and Grasslands (pg. 25): This article outlines some general principles of carbon management in forests and grasslands, with an emphasis on how land trusts can promote this value on their properties in conjunction with other goals.

Adaptation examples

We have created resources that identify adaptation strategies and approaches relevant to natural resource management.

The Quick start guide to adaptation planning document was created for land trusts who are ready to plan for adaptation actions on their lands. This is a draft version. Please contact us for more details. 

Quick start guide to adaptation planning for land trusts

Browse climate adaptation strategies by topic. 


Land trusts across the country are thinking through how climate change may affect the lands that they care about. Using the Adaptation Workbook or Quick Guide, land trusts are intentionally taking action to address climate change risks and vulnerabilities in stewardship planning. Find a few stories below:

Online Training: Climate Adaptation for Land Trusts

NIACS and the Land Trust Alliance have partnered on several online trainings that introduce key concepts and tools to support climate change adaptation as part of land stewardship. Over 4 weeks, the training introduces adaptation resources and provides a hands-on opportunity for land trusts to use the Quick Guide to Adaptation Planning for Land Trusts to integrate climate change into a real-world stewardship project. 

Contact us with questions. 

Climate Adaptation for Land Trusts (20232022, 2021, 2020). Review the training format and related information.


Adaptation Planning and Practices Training

NIACS hosts in-person and online 8-week online Adaptation Planning and Practices Training for land managers to integrate climate change into real-world land management projects. This online training has helped natural resource and conservation professionals develop adaptation plans that address local climate impacts and other threats. 

The online training is offered annually. Find more information on the in-person workshops and online course logistics and offerings on the training page. 

Adaptation Planning and Practices Training

Communicating climate change

As we work to confront impacts of climate change and to support adaptation on our lands, being able to communicate effectively with land trust audiences is crucial. The Land Trust Alliance and Open Space Institute published survey results and recommendations in their How to Talk About Climate Change document.

For additional materials that can help refine communication approaches please browse the resources below.

Browse the communication resources 

Private landowner outreach resources

Climate Scorecards – NIACS has partnered with the regional partners to develop a series of brochures designed to help private landowners consider climate change in their woods. The brochures can also help landowners effectively talk with consulting foresters about their goals, potential risks, and actions they would like to take. Each 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.

Browse Forest and Climate Action Scorecards

*Note: Forest Climate Scorecards are available for MN, WI, MI and NY but are useful in other states as well.


NRCS brochures – The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) have partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a series of brochures that describe options landowners and land managers have to adapt to climate change. The brochures describe how NRCS programs and practices can help landowners achieve their goals while supporting climate adaptation.

Browse the brochures describing climate-informed practices (external link)

Work with us

We provide training and technical assistance to support climate-informed land management. Examples of our work include:

  • Providing technical support.
  • Organizing and facilitating workshops and distance learning courses related to climate change adaptation.
  • Developing real-world examples of climate-informed planning.

Contact us for more information.