Planning for Future Climate by Forest

I just stumbled on a new (I think) storymap from the USFS, Climate by Forest. It’s “A tool for exploring climate change information on National Forest System lands.”

“Using the first version of Climate By Forest, forest planners could obtain climate change graphs and data files with just a few clicks. However, they still had to perform statistical analyses on the data to test whether projected changes would lead to a significant departure from historical conditions. This step required days to weeks of a climate specialist’s time to find, process, and reformat data files. To resolve this, developers incorporated the relevant statistical methods into the tool, enabling managers for every unit in the lower 48 states to access projections and the relevant statistical documentation for their plans from Climate By Forest in a matter of minutes.”

Here’s an example using the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area:


3 thoughts on “Planning for Future Climate by Forest”

  1. That’s pretty cool. But is anyone doing something to help national forests translate this into changes in future vegetation and other (cumulative) effects?

    • So Jon, I’m a vegetation person of the tree persuasion, and the answer is that no one knows how forests will respond to future climate, because we don’t know how trees will respond… take ponderosa, is there enough adaptive capacity genetically to make the change? We don’t know. What will the actual microsite environment be like? We don’t know. That’s why monitoring and adaptation are so important in dealing with uncertainties. Perhaps in planning thoughts of climate change could cause us to look for things to monitor.. for future adaptation. But I’m not sure anyone needs to help forest folks… the forest specialists I know can just look at model projections and figure out what might happen and what might need to be monitored. Maybe they could use moral support and review of what they come up with?

      At least that was my experience working on the Climate Change Action Plans forests had to do.. was that 10-15 years ago?

      • Can the specialists you know “just look at model projections and figure out what might happen” and propose a desired condition that is consistent with “what might happen?” (I’m not against monitoring; it’s just an answer to a different question.)


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