Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 125–130 | Cite as

US strategy for forest management adaptation to climate change: building a framework for decision making

  • V. Alaric Sample
  • Jessica E. Halofsky
  • David L. Peterson
Original Paper

Abstract

Context

Recent policy changes in the USA direct agencies managing federal forests to analyze the potential effects of climate change on forest productivity, water resource protection, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and other values.

Aims

This paper describes methods developed to (1) assess current risks, vulnerabilities, and gaps in knowledge; (2) engage internal agency resources and external partners in the development of options and solutions; and (3) manage forest resources for resilience, not just in terms of natural ecosystems but in affected human communities as well.

Methods

We describe an approach designed to characterize certain climate change effects on forests, and estimate the effectiveness of response options ranging from resistance to a realignment of management objectives.

Results

Field testing on a 6,300 km2 area of conifer forest in the northwestern USA shows this decision model to be useful and cost-effective in identifying the highest sensitivities relating to vegetation management, biological diversity, water resources and forest transportation systems, and building consensus for adaptive strategies and actions.

Conclusions

Results suggest that this approach is an effective means for guiding management decisions to adapt to the effects of climate change, and provides an empirical basis for setting budgetary and management priorities.

Keywords

Climate change vulnerability assessment Adaptation prioritization 

Supplementary material

13595_2013_288_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM Table 1Current and expected vegetation sensitivities to climate change on the Olympic Peninsula, and associated adaptation strategies and actions for vegetation management at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. Sensitivities are based on projected climate change effects on the Olympic Peninsula, including decreased summer soil moisture levels, changing patterns of vegetation establishment, growth and mortality, shifting species distributions, shifting phenology, increased fire frequency, increased winter flood frequency and magnitude, and potential for increased insect outbreaks (DOCX 16 kb)
13595_2013_288_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM Table 2Projected climate change sensitivities, and associated adaptation strategies and actions for wildlife and habitat management at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. Sensitivities are based on projected climate change effects on the Olympic Peninsula, including changing habitat distribution and quality with changing vegetation patterns, shifts in geographic ranges of wildlife species, shifts in ranges of competitor, forage, prey, and symbiotic species (and biotic interactions), changing species phenology, increased fire frequency, potential for increased insect and disease outbreaks, changing hydrology, and reduced summer stream flows (DOCX 16 kb)
13595_2013_288_MOESM3_ESM.docx (17 kb)
ESM Table 3Current and expected sensitivities of fish to climate change on the Olympic Peninsula, and associated adaptation strategies and actions for fisheries and fish habitat management at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. Sensitivities are based on projected climate change effects on the Olympic Peninsula, including increased winter precipitation and runoff, more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, increased storm intensity, greater winter and spring stream flows in some types of watersheds, increased flood frequency and magnitude in some types of watersheds, elevation shifts in transition (rain-on-snow) zones, reduced summer stream flows, and increased stream temperatures (DOCX 16 kb)
13595_2013_288_MOESM4_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM Table 4Projected climate change effects and adaptation options in the context of road management at Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park. Projected effects on physical watershed processes are based on projected climate change effects on Olympic Peninsula, including increased winter air temperatures/fluctuation above and below freezing; more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow; increased winter and spring stream flows in some types of watersheds; decreased summer stream flows in some types of watersheds; increased winter precipitation and runoff; increased storm intensity; increased flood frequency and magnitude in some types of watersheds; and elevation shifts in transition (rain on snow) zones (DOCX 17 kb)

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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Alaric Sample
    • 1
  • Jessica E. Halofsky
    • 2
  • David L. Peterson
    • 3
  1. 1.Pinchot InstituteWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Forest SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research StationSeattleUSA

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