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Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science

Forest Management for an Uncertain Climate Future: Tools and Training

[photo:] A participant in the Silviculture workshop writing his ideas on a flip-chart in an interactive exercise.Land managers need specific information, strategies, and tools to address the unique challenges of managing forests under uncertain and changing climate and ecosystem response. Sustainable forest management is critical for both the adaptation of forests to changing climatic conditions as well as mitigation of increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The uncertainty of future climatic conditions necessitates strategies that provide flexibility and enhance ecosystem resistance and resilience.

To help address these needs in the Lake States and Northeast, NIACS has provided several interconnected activities and products:

  • Educational materials about climate change and ecosystem response
  • A silviculture workshop designed to develop management strategies under different climate scenarios
  • Decision support tools based on recommendations from the silviculture workshop;
  • Advanced training seminars on climate change science, forest ecosystem responses, and the use of the decision support tools from the workshop
  • Print and web-based media to disseminate the tools and educational materials
  • Development of a climate change module for the USFS National Advanced Silviculture Program

Funding for this project was provided by the US Forest Service Global Change Program.


Presentations and Training Seminars on Climate Change and Forests
As part of this project, presentations and training seminars were delivered to many National Forests and their partners throughout the Eastern Region. At least 9 complete training seminars have been held during the life of this project, with the latest two seminars held in 2010. Some of these presentations are available for online viewing.



Silvicultural Strategies for an Uncertain Climate Future Workshop
A Silvicultural workshop was held September 17-18, 2008 in Milwaukee, WI. The following are educational materials produced for the event.

National Advanced Silviculture Program
A key component of this project has been the development of a climate change forest management component for the Forest Service’s National Advanced Silviculture Program (NASP). The product developed for this project continues to be used in NASP training sessions both at the national level and for the regional Lake States module.


Nagel, LM, CW Swanston, and MK Janowiak. 2010. Integrating climate change considerations into forest management tools and training. In: Jain, TB, RT Graham, and J Sandquist, tech. eds. Integrated management of carbon sequestration and biomass utilization opportunities in a changing climate: Proceedings of the 2009 National Silviculture Workshop; 2009 June 15-18; Boise, ID. Proceedings RMRS-P-61. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 351 p.

Separate chapters of RMRS-P-61: Integrated management of carbon sequestration and biomass utilization opportunities in a changing climate: Proceedings of the 2009 National Silviculture Workshop are also available to download.

Janowiak, MK, CW Swanston, LM Nagel, BJ Palik, MJ Twery, JB Bradford, CR Webster, LR Parker, AT Hille, and SM Johnson. 2011. Silvicultural Decision Making in an Uncertain Climate Future: A Workshop-based Exploration of Considerations, Strategies, and Approaches. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-81. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 14 p.



U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station:

U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Region:

  • Linda Parker, Forest Ecologist, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
  • Andrea Hille, Forest Silviculturist, Allegheny National Forest
  • Sheela Johnson, Hydrologist, White Mountain National Forest

Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science:

Michigan Technological University:


Last Modified: 03/28/2012