Adaptation services encompasses our work to enable land managers, communities, and woodland owners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resources management.
Our new Adaptation Services theme recognizes the growth and demand for our work in helping to address climate impacts in natural resources management. We launched the Climate Change Response Framework (CCRF) in 2009 as a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resources management. The USDA Climate Hubs were initiated in 2014, and NIACS was asked to lead the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub in recognition of the work that was already well underway through the CCRF. Over the years, we’ve expanded and deepened the work we do to support climate adaptation with our partners at USDA and the Forest Service, and across all lands. We continue to provide direct support across the Midwest and Northeast US, while also providing assistance to other USDA Climate Hubs and Forest Service Regions across the country.
NIACS produced new materials to help land managers use climate change information, including:
- Continued to develop new menus of adaptation strategies and approaches, and tested new menus with management groups.
- Published a vulnerability assessment for Metro Detroit and created urban forest webpages for eastern U.S. cities.
- Expanded our series of climate change field guides, publishing a guide for southern Wisconsin forests and beginning a guide for northern Michigan forests.
Support to USDA Regional Climate Hubs
NIACS worked with the national network of USDA Hubs to advance climate adaptation training. In FY21, we:
- Partnered with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub and the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center to host a workshop for tropical ecosystems in Hawai’i.
- Worked with American Forests and the USDA California Climate Hub to support two climate-informed planning efforts in California. This included one effort on the Sierra National Forest and a multi-agency effort in the San Bernardino Mountains, both of which used the newly-published adaptation menu for California forested ecosystems.
- Partnered with USDA Midwest Climate Hub to develop state-level reports on climate change for agricultural producers across eight states in the Midwest.
Training and Technical Assistance
NIACS led or co-led more than 30 adaptation workshops, trained around 1,000 professionals, and continued providing climate-related technical assistance to a variety of partners.
Eastern Region National Forests:
- Assisted 8 interdisciplinary teams across multiple forests (Chequamegon-Nicolet, Green Mountain, Monongahela, Ottawa, and Wayne) in using the Adaptation Workbook to incorporate climate change considerations into vegetation management projects.
- Discussed the carbon implications of management projects with several NFs.
- Supported the Superior NF in developing a formal Assisted Migration Plan.
- Worked with the Mark Twain NF on a recreation and infrastructure vulnerability assessment.
- Integrated climate change and adaptation considerations into the Eleven Point Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan.
- Tested a new grassland-focused adaptation menu with the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
- Worked with New York Office of Climate Change to integrate input from 3 agencies into vulnerability assessments.
- Supported the Ohio DNR in developing 10 climate-informed interpretive trail signs that reference the Climate Change Atlas as part of the Honor Camp Trail adaptation demonstration.
- Worked with Massachusetts DCR and partners to develop a climate-focused template for Forest Stewardship Plans and create adaptation practices for landowner incentive programs.
- Partnered with the Iowa Society of American Foresters and Iowa State University to host a 2-day adaptation workshop for managers, with help from the USDA Midwest Climate Hub.
Regional and National:
- Co-hosted a special Adaptation Planning and Practices (APP) training with the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the Society for Outdoor Recreation Professionals for recreation professionals from across the country.
- Hosted two short courses on adaptation planning with the Land Trust Alliance.
- Supported Department of Defense climate change education using CCRC educational resources.
- Described the in-person and virtual Adaptation Planning and Practices training curriculum and our lessons learned in an article titled “Beyond Planning Tools: Experiential Learning in Climate Adaptation Planning and Practices” in the journal Climate.
"The field guides developed by NIACS are such a great resource! They allow a great introduction to the resources in a way that is accessible to the non-expert. And then you have the longer assessment to back it up and dig deeper."
- Sharon Stephens, State Adaptation Coordinator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
"It’s amazing how nice it is to be in the smaller Zoom groups with fellow land trusters from elsewhere in the country. The sense of having colleagues thinking about these issues everywhere and seeing the commonalities is very positive. Not that we have the answers, but that we’re all trying."
- Land Trust Alliance course participant
We will continue developing tools, providing training, and offering technical assistance for diverse groups of natural resources managers, and look for new opportunities to support the USDA Climate Hubs, Forest Service, and other partners in expanding their work in this arena. Numerous virtual outreach and training events are planned for FY22, including an adaptation short course designed for international participants that we are hosting in collaboration with Forest Service International Programs. We anticipate developing significant new partnerships as we promote the Climate & Health and Wildlife adaptation menus, including with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. NIACS will have new opportunities to work more closely with certified forests, as both the FSC and SFI forest certification standards are adopting new expectations for climate change adaptation and mitigation in 2022. NIACS contributed to these standards and is well-positioned to be a central resource to land managers seeking to fulfill these new expectations.