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Climate Change and Forest Adaptation

February 2013

Northern Research Station scientists are pursuing a wide range of research to better understand the processes and extent of global climate change and the effects on forest ecosystems. Learn more.

Featured Scientist

Chris Swanston

Research scientist, Chris SwanstonAs a research scientist and the director of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS), Chris Swanston leads many efforts to create the best available scientific information, and then make that information available to natural resource professionals, scientists, and others to help in decisionmaking. Because climate change is likely to strongly affect many forest ecosystems, it is important to understand these impacts and explore how resource management can be used to sustain healthy forests.

Find out more on Chris' scientist profile

Featured Product

Publication cover for Changing climate, changing forests: The impacts of climate change on forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada"Changing climate, changing forests: The impacts of climate change on forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada" analyzes decades of research by U.S. and Canadian scientists. Co-authored by Lindsey Rustad and John Campbell of the NRS and colleagues, the report outlines the effects of climate change on multiple aspects of forests in the northeastern corner of the United States and eastern Canada and concludes with recommendations on adaptive and mitigating strategies for dealing with future effects.

Featured Research

Photo of white pine plantationEnhanced Adaptation to Climate Change of Conifer Species and Provenances in Northern Forest Ecosystems

State forest nurseries help ensure biologically and economically sustainable reforestation by raising and distributing millions of trees for planting projects every year. But as the climate changes in northern forests, planting programs will not be successful unless we know which tree species and seeds sources are best equipped to adapt to climate change pressures. In Wisconsin, NRS scientist Ron Zalesny is working with partners to understand seed source productivity over time and how to increase the viability and resiliency of potential seed sources under new climate regimes.  

Featured Partnerships

Climate Change Response Framework

Research scientist, Chris SwanstonThe Climate Change Response Framework is a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, natural resource managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into forest management. This approach is currently in use in three large ecoregions in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. (Northwoods, Central Hardwoods, and Central Appalachians). Some of the products developed through this and associated efforts include: