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Regional Assessments

Photo of forest and waterForests will be affected by a changing climate in a variety of ways, and it's important to understand the potential effects in order to sustain healthy forests in the face of changing conditions.

Vulnerability assessments summarize and synthesize current scientific information, in order to describe the effects of climate change at a regional, statewide or national level. Vulnerability assessments serve as a scientific basis for making management and policy decisions.


National, Regional, and Statewide Assessments

Several other assessments have been completed at national, regional, and state levels that provide relevant information related to climate change and forests, many of which are listed here.


NEW! The Northern Forests Hub has published its regional vulnerability assessment which provides an introduction to the region, regional sensitivities and adaptation strategies for working lands, a greenhouse gas emissions profile with mitigation opportunities, and an overview of how partner USDA agencies are being affected by a changing climate. This vulnerability assessment is an important first step in establishing a baseline “snapshot” of current climate vulnerabilities, and provides region-specific adaptation and mitigation strategies to increase the resilience of working lands in the region. Read the full report here

National Climate Assessment (2014)

The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. The assessment contains information on the Midwest and Northeast regions, as well as forest ecosystems.


Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the US.

USDA Forest Service (2012). This report is a scientific assessment of the current condition and likely future condition of forest resources in the United States relative to climatic variability and change. It serves as the USDA Forest Service forest sector technical report for the National Climate Assessment and includes descriptions of key regional issues and examples of a risk-based framework for assessing climate-change effects.


Climate Change Adaptation in United States Federal Natural Resource Science and Management Agencies: A Synthesis

U.S. Global Change Research Program (2015).This report documents progress to date in climate change adaptation by Federal natural resource science and management agencies and tribes, providing a baseline for measuring future accomplishments.


USDA Climate Change Adaptation Plan

USDA (2014) Climate Change Adaptation Plan presents strategies and actions to address the effects of climate change on key mission areas.





Climate Change Response Framework

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science has developed a series of reports that assess and synthesize the vulnerability of forests to a range of future climate conditions at a regional level.

Northern Wisconsin (2011)

Central Hardwoods (2014)

Northern Minnesota (2014)

Northern Lower and Eastern Upper Michigan (2014)

Northern Wisconsin and Western Upper Michigan (2014)

Central Appalachians (in press: 2014)



Climate Change Vulnerabilities within the Forestry Sector for the Midwestern United States.

U.S. National Climate Assessment Midwest Technical Input Report (2012). This report was developed as part of the National Climate Assessment and summarizes the effects of climate change across the Midwest. Regional reports on other resources, including biodiversity and water, that were develop as part of this series are available from the  Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments website.


Changing climate, changing forests: The impacts of climate change on forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

USDA Forest Service (2012). A synthesis of recent research from the northeastern United States and eastern Canada summarizing observed climate changes throughout the last 100 years.


Confronting climate change in the U.S. Northeast: Science , impacts, and solutions.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (2007). Summary, Full document 

This report describes the changing climate for the U.S. Northeast region and associated climate change impacts. The impacts of projected climate scenarios are reviewed for the region's coastal areas, marine fisheries, forests, agriculture, winter recreation, and human health sectors. Mitigation and adaptation policy options and concepts relevant to Northeast are presented. A summary of “Impacts on Forests” can be found in chapter 4.


Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Natural Resources Management: Toolbox of Methods with Case Studies Version 2.0.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (2014). This document is a compilation of resources, a toolbox of methods and approaches for climate change vulnerability assessments, providing a non-comprehensive survey of some methods in use today for: (1) species; (2) habitats; (3) places (protected areas, watersheds, landscapes); (4) ecosystem processes; (5) ecosystem services; (6) water resources; and (7) coastal resources. Case study examples are presented for as many of the methods as possible. This toolbox does not provide an evaluation of the pros and cons of methods.






The impacts of climate change on Connecticut agriculture, infrastructure, natural resources, and public health.

Adaptation Subcommittee to the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change (2010). This report focuses on the impacts of climate change on the built and natural environment, agriculture and public health in Connecticut. Strategies to adapt to these potential impacts will be the subject of additional task force work and a second report.




More information coming soon!




Illinois Statewide Forest Resource Assessments And Strategies.

IL Department of Natural Resources (2008). This document summarizes trends in several climate-related variables for the state of Illinois from the State Climatologist’s office.




More information coming soon!




More information coming soon!




Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine: Vulnerability of Habitats and Priority Species.

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (2014). Summary, Full Report

This document summarizes a climate change vulnerability assessment of Maine’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), state-listed threatened or endangered plant species, and key habitats of the Maine Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (ME CWCS).


Maine’s Climate Future

University of Maine (2015, 2009). 2015 Update, 2009 document

Maine’s Climate Future 2015 builds on the Maine’s Climate Future 2009 report (below); it is not intended as a comprehensive revision of all aspects of the original report. This update focuses on highlights of our understanding in 2015 of past, present, and future trends in key indicators of a changing climate specific to Maine, and recent examples of how Maine people are experiencing these changes.




More information coming soon!




The Climate Change and Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Reports, Volume 1 – 3.

Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (2010).

  • Volume 1 - Introduction and Background. This report describes how biodiversity conservation is currently carried out by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife; the history, objectives, and methods of the SWAP; and how the climate in Massachusetts has been changing and is expected to change over the remainder of this century.
  • Volume 2 - Habitat and Species Vulnerability. This volume reports the results of the work assessing the likely vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife and their habitats to climate change.
  • Volume 3 - Habitat Management. This report assesses how ecological resources might be effectively managed as climatic conditions continue to change.



Changing Climate, Changing Wildlife A Vulnerability Assessment of 400 Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Game Species in Michigan.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (2013). This report assessed the vulnerability of 400 terrestrial animal and plant species in the coastal zone and throughout the state of Michigan using the Climate Change Vulnerability Index developed by Nature Serve (Young et al. 2011). The vulnerability of ecological communities was also addressed.


Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Natural Features in Michigan’s Coastal Zone – Phase I: Assessing Rare Plants and Animals.

Michigan Natural Features Inventory (2011). In collaboration with the Michigan Coastal Management Program, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory conducted a two-year project to assess the vulnerability of natural features in Michigan’s coastal zone to climate change, focusing on rare plant and animal species and natural communities. This report summarizes the results of the vulnerability assessment of rare and declining plants and animals in Michigan’s coastal zone.




Adapting to Climate Change in Minnesota.

MN Pollution Control Agency (2013). This report is a compilation of on-going climate change adaptation efforts within the state of Minnesota. The Interagency Climate Adaptation Team (ICAT) has been working since July 2009 to help Minnesota's state agencies collaborate on climate adaptation efforts. ICAT currently includes representatives from the following Minnesota state departments and agencies.




More information coming soon!



New Hampshire

Ecosystems and wildlife climate change adaptation plan.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (2013). This document outlines the vulnerabilities of wildlife and habitats to the changes being wrought by climate change and recommends action to address these for the state of New Hampshire.



New Jersey

More information coming soon!



New York

Responding to Climate Change in New York State.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. (2011, 2014). This report provides climate projections, risks for the state of New York, providing in depth analysis of climate change adaptation strategies and vulnerabilities for various sectors (such as: Water Resources - Ch. 4, Ecosystems - Ch. 6).




More information coming soon!




Weathering Climate Change: Framing Strategies to Minimize Impacts on Pennsylvania Ecosystems and Wildlife – Perspectives from Conservation Leaders and Experts on Climate Change Adaptation.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission, The Nature Conservancy (2010). This report presents the findings of interviews conducted with conservation leaders and experts in Pennsylvania to learn about their perspectives on climate change adaptation.



Rhode Island

More information coming soon!




Climate Change in the Champlain Basin – What natural resource managers can expect and do.

The Nature Conservancy (2010). This report provides a summary of how climate change influences habitats and biodiversity in the Lake Champlain basin.



West Virginia

More information coming soon!




Wisconsin's Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation.

Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (2011). In 2011, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts released its first comprehensive report, Wisconsin's Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation. The report serves as a resource for business executives, government, natural resource managers, public health officials and other decision makers as they take strategic steps to preserve jobs, invest resources wisely, build resiliency and protect our built and natural environment in the face of a changing climate.