Climate change increases uncertainty about future conditions and creates new challenges for land owners and natural resource managers interested in sustaining healthy ecosystems over the long term.

The Climate Change Response Framework is a collaborative effort that addresses the major challenges that land managers face when considering how to integrate climate change into their planning and management. The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) leads the Climate Change Response Framework with support from many partners.

A Shared Approach

Climate change has the potential to affect areas much larger than any single ownership, making multi-institutional efforts and partnerships instrumental for adaptation. The Framework was designed as a model for collaborative climate change response across large and diverse landscapes, providing a broad approach that can be adjusted and applied to other locations and landscapes.

Currently, the Framework is being applied in several locations in the eastern U.S. through coordinated place-based projects: Central AppalachiansCentral HardwoodsMid-AtlanticNew EnglandNorthwoods, and Urban Forests

Framework Components

Each Climate Change Response Framework project provides an integrated set of tools, partnerships, and actions to support climate-informed conservation and management.

  • Partnerships: Productive partnerships increase the capacity of organizations to cope with the overwhelming nature of climate change and ensure relevance, credibility, and usefulness of Framework products.
  • Vulnerability Assessments: Forest vulnerability assessments created through the Framework compile credible, relevant information about projected future climate conditions and forest responses and vulnerability.
  • Adaptation Resources:  The Framework provides a growing set of adaptation resources, including an adaptation workbook and topical compilations of adaptation strategies, to help land managers and landowners devise adaptation actions to meet their objectives.
  • Adaptation Demonstrations: The Framework shares the stories of adaptation demonstrations, which are real-world examples of how land managers have considered ecosystem vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies in choosing actions to meet their management objectives.

Framework Process

The Framework process is designed to continually incorporate new information, ideas, and lessons learned into the products and activities. It was conceived as a model for collaborative management and climate change response across large and diverse landscapes and has proven to be extremely successful.

Read more about the process in the publication Forest Adaptation Resources.


Since 2009, the Framework has bridged the gap between scientific research on climate change impacts and on-the-ground natural resource management.The Framework was initiated with a joint commitment of the US Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Eastern Region to work closely together in addressing the challenges of climate change. It is led by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science.

The hallmark of the Framework, however, is the high level of cross-boundary collaboration throughout the forest sector, which is essential to coping with an issue that spans borders, disciplines, and perspectives. The Framework stretches across the boundaries of partners to invite participation of forestlands owned and managed by private individuals, forest industry, tribes, state, local, and federal agencies.

The Climate Change Response Framework is supported in large part by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Eastern Region, Northeastern Area; and American Forests. Framework activities also support the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub, part of the national network of the USDA Regional Climate Hubs, and provides forest and ecosystem sector-specific resources in the Midwest and Northeast.