USFS Climate Change Response Framework

The Climate Change Response Framework (CCRF) was established in 2009 led by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)’s Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. The Framework is intended to help forest and natural resource managers and landowners integrate climate change into natural resource management by utilizing climate science with the on-the-ground management of climate impacts. The six established projects of the Framework cover 19 states and span 14 national forests. The “ecoregions" encompassed include the Central Appalachians, Central Hardwoods, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Northwoods, and Urban.

This resource was featured in the June 1, 2018, ASAP Newsletter.

"Climate change is a gnarly issue, and NIACS has developed the multi-pronged Climate Change Response Framework to provide a wide array of collaborative solutions, including:

—Vulnerability assessments that identify ecosystems at greatest risk
—A comprehensive guidebook full of adaptation resources focused on natural forest ecosystems as well as urban forests and parks
—An Adaptation Workbook whose approach has been used by hundreds of professionals, resulting in a network of more than 250 real-world adaptation demonstrations. Several of these involve planting trees that are expected to be better adapted to future conditions, including the Menominee Tribal Enterprises, one of the finalists in ASAP’s 2017 Prize for Progress.

And that’s just the beginning. NIACS is expanding its efforts to support an even wider network of professionals. Numerous organizations have partnered with NIACS to create new adaptation resources that will meet a wider array of needs, including agriculture, forested watersheds, tribal perspectives, wetlands, wildlife and habitat management, carbon management — all for use with the Adaptation Workbook!"


The six steps of the conceptual framework are explained in a flowchart and in detail, moving from identification of location through to implementation and monitoring. The framework approach is to:

  1. Identify location, ecosystems, and time frame;
  2. Establish partnerships;
  3. Assess ecosystem vulnerabilities;
  4. Compile adaptation strategies and approaches;
  5. Plan and implement at appropriate scales; and
  6. Integrate monitoring and evaluate effectiveness.

This Framework demonstrates the necessary components of adaptation planning for natural resource managers.  In order to pursue effective adaptation responses strategies, the USFS recommends a focus on establishing inter-agency partnerships, developing current vulnerability assessments, utilizing forest adaptation management tools and resources, and learning from demonstration projects. Establishing partnerships between land managers and scientists in the public and private sectors is recommended to allow the most current science to inform management practices.

This resource provides over 100 briefings, documents, and presentations created from the Framework projects, and over 50 governmental and non-governmental potential partner organizations. The website also includes a compiled list of other climate-forest related resources.

Other resources created through the CCRF include the Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis and the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework

Publication Date: 2009

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