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57 Adapting to climate change in United States national forests

By R. P. Neilson and D. L. Peterson


A review of climate change adaptation options in the United States offers practical information for resource managers to help them adapt their forest management goals and practices to expected climate change impacts. Climate change is already affecting forests and other ecosystems, and additional, potentially more severe impacts are expected (IPCC, 2007; CCSP, 2008a, 2008b). As a result, forest managers are seeking practical guidance on how to adapt their current practices and, if necessary, their goals. Adaptations of forest ecosystems, which in this context refer to adjustments in management (as opposed to “natural” adaptation), ideally would reduce the negative impacts of climate change and help managers take advantage of any positive impacts. This article summarizes key points from a review of climate change adaptation options for United States national forests (Joyce et al., 2008) produced under the auspices of the United States Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) (see Box). The study sought to provide practical information on potential adaptation options for resource managers by asking: • How will climate change affect the ability of resource managers to achieve their management goals? • What might a resource manager do to prepare the management system for climate change impacts while maintaining current goals (and constantly evaluating if these goals need to be modified or re-prioritized)

Year: 2013
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