Adaptation Tools

Taking steps to understand the issue on your woodlot Private landowners and woodlot owners can begin taking actions to enable their woods to adapt to climate change. The Northern Forests Climate Hub and The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science has partnered up with regional partners and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a series of brochures that describe how to assess climate-related risks at a woodlot, and describe specific adaptation strategies that can be taken to respond to climate change. NRCS programs and practices can help landowners achieve their goals while supporting climate adaptation. Find climate adaptation options related to agriculture, grazing and livestock, forests, managing for carbon, wetlands and wildlife habitat management.
Browse brochures describing climate-informed NRCS practices


Adaptation Resources for Ecosystems

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science and the Northern Forests Climate Hub has led the development of adaptation strategies and approaches for a variety of natural resource topics, which can be used with the Adaptation Workbook. These “menus” provide a curated list of adaptation actions to help you move from broad ideas to specific actions. Although menu items can be applied in various combinations to achieve desired outcomes, not all items on the menu will work together. Furthermore, actions that work well in one ecosystem type may not work in another; it is up to the land manager to select appropriate actions according to project location and goals. All menus are peer-reviewed. Interact with menus in the links below, and find additional supporting publications at the Climate Change Response Framework (forestadaptation.org). These adaptation resources were designed for the Midwest and Northeast U.S., and are a product of a synthesis of academic literature and widespread input from the management community. However, these tools may be useful in other regions as well. Adaptation actions for other regions are also available through the USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center.

The resources include "menus" of adaptation strategies and approaches for regional forest and urban forest management and by topic (tribal perspectives forested watersheds, forest-carbon and conservation of non-forested wetlands, outdoor recreation). The menus are used within the step-by-step Adaptation Workbook to assist land managers in developing and implementing on-the-ground climate adaptation actions.

Download the Adaptation Workbook and Forest Adaptation Resources (external link)

Find supplemental menus of adaptation strategies and approaches developed for topics in natural resource management:

Forested Watersheds Forest Management for Carbon Sequestration and Climate Adaptation Conservation and management of non-forested wetlands Tribal perspectives Outdoor recreation


A Workbook to Design Climate-Informed Management Actions

The online Adaptation Workbook is a web-based version of the process outlined in Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers, allowing for a self-guided and interactive approach. The Adaptation Workbook helps natural resource professionals consider the potential effects of climate change on forest and associated ecosystems, enabling them to develop actions that can help reduce risk and increase the ability of ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions. A flexible process accommodates a wide variety of geographic locations, scales, ecosystems, land uses, management goals, and ownership types. The Adaptation Workbook can be used in print or online. The online Adaptation Workbook tool can be used throughout the United States, and features regionally-specific content on forest ecosystems with specific regional climate impacts incorporated from the Climate Change Response Framework Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessments in the Midwest and Northeast; other regions integrate information from the recent National Climate Assessment. The online Adaptation Workbook contains adaptation resources for forest management, urban forests, forested watersheds, forest carbon management, non-forested wetland management and conservation, recreation and agriculture. Additional resources for wildlife, freshwater coastal ecosystems, grasslands, and fire-adapted ecosystems are in development.

Download the Adaptation Workbook and Forest Adaptation Resources (external link)
Learn more about the online Adaptation Workbook
Download the Quick Guide version of the Adaptation Workbook
Use the Adaptation Workbook in Agriculture

Find case studies describing real-world projects that have integrated climate change into their project-level plans at the NIACS Climate Change Response Framework.

Adaptation Demonstration Projects for Ecosystems and Forests (external link) Adaptation Demonstration Projects for Agriculture


Training and Consultation Opportunities

The Adaptation Workbook can be used online, in print form, or in a workshop setting. The Northern Forests Climate Hub works with partners to host Adaptation Planning and Practices trainings for ecosystem planning throughout the year. In-person, hands-on trainings to help natural resources managers incorporate climate change considerations into their own real-world forest management projects. After the training, staff from the Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science support managers in developing their projects and sharing their story as an adaptation demonstration.

Look for upcoming trainings in the calendar Find trainings offered by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science


Additional resources

Consider learning more on how forests are vulnerable to climate change. Find a short list of highlights, and links to comprehensive regional vulnerability reports written for ecoregions in the Midwest and Northeast regions.

Learn more about climate impacts