Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change by capturing carbon dioxide and storing carbon within soils and forest biomass.
Forest management actions are often necessary to maintain or enhance the forest carbon sink, which offsets about 15 percent of total U.S. fossil fuel emissions annually. Management actions can be designed to enhance sequestration rates or to maintain or increase existing forest carbon stocks by preventing carbon losses. These management actions also can support other desired co-benefits for resource management objectives, such as timber supply, wildlife habitat, or water quality.
Adaptation in Action
There is no single answer on how to best adapt to climate change, and adaptation responses will vary by location based upon the magnitude of climate impacts, the inherent resilience of ecosystems, and the values and resources of local communities. We have created resources to help land managers anticipate climate change impacts and identify adaptation actions.
We have developed a set of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches designed specifically for forest carbon management. Drawing from a large body of scientific literature this menu is designed to be used with the Adaptation Workbook, this new resource will help managers understand and select from a wide variety of climate-informed actions that support carbon mitigation.
Read the paper:
- Citation: Todd A Ontl, Maria K Janowiak, Christopher W Swanston, Jad Daley, Stephen Handler, Meredith Cornett, Steve Hagenbuch, Cathy Handrick, Liza McCarthy, Nancy Patch. Forest Management for Carbon Sequestration and Climate Adaptation, Journal of Forestry, Volume 118, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 86–101, https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvz062
Download an extensive version, with a full description of the menu:Practitioner's Menu of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management
Download the summarized version of the menu:1-page version of Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management:
Real-world project examples
Adaptation demonstration projects are real-world examples of how managers have integrated climate considerations into land management planning and activities. Several of these projects used the carbon menu to test new ideas and actions for responding to changing conditions. Watch the video and browse the case studies to learn more:
Find real-world adaptation demonstration projects that have used this tool in planning:
Work with Us
We provide training and technical assistance to natural resource professionals and land owners to support climate-informed land management. Examples of our work include:
- Working with American Forests to plan and facilitate learning labs to uncover land-section greenhouse gas mitigation options for natural and working lands
- Partnering with state agencies and other organizations to develop and model forest management scenarios to project future carbon mitigation opportunities in inform the advancement of state policies and programs that support enhanced mitigation
- Providing resources and training on adaptation for forest carbon management
- Creating tools to support the adaptation of forests to climate change, while also considering carbon
- Develop real-world examples of how climate-informed management of forests can achieve goals related to carbon management
There are so many resources on this topic that it can be hard to know where to start. We've created this list to feature our favorite resources. Want more? Use the Resource Finder to view more of what we've developed through the Climate Change Response Framework, or visit the Adaptation Workbook to discover even more!
- Learn about the carbon & adaptation benefits of climate-smart forestry practices developed for New England forests in the TNC/ NIACS publication Healthy Forests For Our Future: A Management Guide to Increase Carbon Storage in Northeastern Forests
- Read the MassWoods landowner outreach publication Forest Carbon: an essential natural solution to climate change
- Watch a webinar: Forest Carbon Management and Climate Adaptation, from the NE Climate Adaptation webinar series, featuring Paul Catanzaro (UMass Amherst), Todd Ontl (NIACS), and Steve Hagenbuch (Audubon Vermont);
- Read topic pages and view carbon tools through the USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center
- USDA Publication, "Considering Forest and Grassland Carbon in Land Management"
- Learning module, "Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management" (USDA Forest Service)
- Read the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report. Chapter 9 - Forests.
- Learn in-depth information at Michigan State Universities' Understanding Forest Carbon Management, a self-paced, online professional short course (registration fee required)
- Forest carbon management guide for Massachusetts' landowners: Caring For Your Woods: Forest Carbon Management