Northern Research Station News Releases

Forest Service Collaboration Receives Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership Award

Leslie Brandt (center), a climate change specialist with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, accepted an award from the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership on Nov. 6 from Mark Seeley and Barb Liukkonen. Minneapolis, MN, November 7, 2014 - On Thursday, Nov. 6, the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership awarded a U.S. Forest Service collaboration with a “Climate Change Adaptation Award” recognizing leadership in climate adaptation by an institution. The award was presented as part of “Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis.

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, or NIACS, is a collaboration of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, Eastern Region, and State and Private Forestry along with Michigan Technological University, the Trust for Public Land, and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. Based in Houghton, Mich., NIACS staff work with federal, state, academic, industry and non-government organization partners throughout the Northeast and Midwest to develop climate change adaption strategies and climate education tools and to analyze forests’ vulnerability to climate change.

“We are truly honored by the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership’s recognition,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and Forest Products Laboratory. “The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science staff and all of us in the Forest Service are committed to working with partners to develop tools and data that enable decision-makers to begin managing for sustainable landscapes that are more resilient to disturbances.”

In Minnesota, NIACS climate change specialist Stephen Handler led development of “Minnesota Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis,” an assessment that covered a 23.5-million-acre region of forest in northeastern Minnesota and described effects of climate change that have already been observed in the state; projected changes in the climate and the landscape and forest vulnerabilities. The document is online at:

Handler also coordinated Climate Change Response Framework activities in Minnesota, including demonstration projects on the Superior National Forest, the Chippewa National Forest, privately owned forests, and forests managed by The Nature Conservancy. More information about NIACS’ climate change adaption work in Minnesota is available at:

Mark White, a forest ecologist with The Nature Conservancy and a collaborator on the Minnesota forest vulnerability assessment, credits NIACS with having an inclusive approach to adaptation projects. “They have been a great partner for us in the region,” White said. “They have put together working groups that reflect a broad range of perspectives and have provided leadership that helped focus a number of adaptation efforts.”


The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit


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Last modified: November 7, 2014