Climate Adaptation Strategies for Pacific Northwest Forests

Climate change poses significant challenges for forest owners in the Northwest.

Recent analyses indicate that western Oregon and Washington will likely experience warmer temperatures, higher winter precipitation, reduced snowpack, and less precipitation in summer months. This means changes to the core conditions in which current forests thrive, heightened stress on fish and wildlife, and increased risks from insects, disease, and wildfire.

NNRG has developed a suite of resources for foresters and land managers to use in planning for the future of their forests. See below for video presentations, a guide, and other resources as part of this grant-funded project. 

Video Series

In Fall 2019 NNRG hosted three workshops on Climate Adaptation Strategies for Pacific Northwest Forests to help foresters and land managers make informed decisions about adapting their management practices to meet their goals and sustain forests into the future. Edited video recordings of these lectures with presentation slides included are available below. You can also download a PDF of the slides associated with each presentation by clicking “Download presentation (PDF)” below each video.

Climate Change: Current Understanding and What to Expect
Jessica Halofsky
USFS PNW Research Station

Climate Change Effects on Forests in the Pacific Northwest
David L. Peterson
USFS PNW Research Station

Forest Hydrology for Climate Adaptation in the Pacific Northwest
Rolf Gersonde
City of Seattle

Climate Change Effects on Forest Insects & Diseases
Glenn Kohler
WA Dept of Natural Resources

Planting Our Future Forests: Species & Seed Source Considerations
Andy Bower & Brad St. Clair
USFS PNW Research Station

Western Washington Wildfires: Managing the Risk
Dan Donato & Josh Halofsky
WA Dept. of Natural Resources


Silvicultural Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation
Derek Churchill
WA Dept. of Natural Resources

Climate Change in the Northwest
Holly Prendeville
USDA Northwest Climate Hub

Climate Adaptation Tactics for Northwest Forests
Holly Prendeville
USDA Northwest Climate Hub

Forest Hydrology for Climate Adaptation
Ashley Coble
NCASI

Climate Change & Insect Pests of Trees
Christine Buhl
OR Department of Forestry

Fire Ecology in Westside Forests of the PNW
Matt Reilly
Humboldt State University

Silvicultural Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation
Derek Churchill
Washington DNR

Planting Our Future Forests: Species & Seed Source Considerations
Andy Bower & Brad St. Clair
USFS PNW Research Station

Forest Adaptation Guide

NNRG and partners produced a white paper called Climate Adaptation Strategies for Pacific Northwest Forests.

The objective of this paper is to help natural resource professionals and forest owners understand climate change projections for western Oregon and Washington, the likely effects on forest ecosystems at lower elevations, and forest management strategies and tools you can use to help Pacific Northwest forests adapt to changing climate conditions.

Forest Management Plan Template

The best forest management plans take future climatic changes into account. This publication provides recommended additions to Northwest Oregon and Western Washington forest management plans to address the impacts of climate change. It includes sections of a management plan that are relevant to climate change, and represents a subset of the content in a standard forest management plan. 

Case Studies

Below you’ll find three case studies describing how NNRG member forests are making changes in their forests to adapt to a changing climate. 

The Not-So-Open Road: Road Decommissioning at Ellsworth Creek

Out With the Fir, In With the Oak: Oak Restoration at Zena Forest

Stossel Creek: Adaptive Forest Restoration Project

List of Resources

The following are helpful sources of information for addressing the affects of climate change on Pacific Northwest forests:

  • Adaptation Partners – http://adaptationpartners.org/ – Researchers and resource managers provide scientific information on climate change effects and adaptation for specific regions in the Northwest and Intermountain West. 
  • Adaptation Workbook – https://adaptationworkbook.org/
  • AdaptWest – https://adaptwest.databasin.org/ – AdaptWest is a spatial database designed to help land management agencies and other organizations implement strategies that promote resilience, protect biodiversity, and conserve and enhance the adaptation potential of natural systems in the face of a changing climate.
  • Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/ – US Forest Service collection of resources and tools.
  • Climate Impact Groups at UW (CIG) – https://cig.uw.edu/ – Leading researchers and providers of primary science and decision making tools.
  • Climate Impact Research Consortium at OSU (CIRC) – https://pnwcirc.org/A climate science-to-action team providing research, decision making tools for communities, and developer of analytic tools resource managers and land use planners.
  • NW Climate Hub – https://www.climatehubs.oce.usda.gov/hubs/northwest – USDA portal for science-based Northwest-specific information and technologies to assist with climate-informed decision making.
  • NW Climate Toolbox – https://climatetoolbox.org/ – Suite of online tools to put a variety of climate data and information in reach of organizations and people for site specific locations, including: historical climate variability, temperature and precipitation normal, streamflow projections, climate projections, and data for Tribal Lands.
  • Seedlot Selection Tool – https://seedlotselectiontool.org/sst/ – Web-based mapping application that can be used to map current or future climates based on different climate change scenarios to inform the selection of seedlings for tree planting as part of reforestation and restoration efforts.
  • U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit – https://toolkit.climate.gov/ – Portal for general information about change for many audiences. 

Past Workshops

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
8:45am-5:30pm
Everett Station
Everett, WA

Thursday, November 14, 2019
8:45am-5:30pm
Olympia Center
Olympia, WA

Thursday, December 5, 2019
8:45am-5:30pm
Chemeketa Center for B & I
Salem, OR

Funding & Support

Funding and support for this project comes from Western Sustainable Agriculture and Education (Western SARE).

Western Sustainable Agriculture and Education is supporting the research and training provided through this project with grant #EW16-021 – Climate Adaptation Training for Foresters.

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Additional resources on climate adaptation and other topics are available in the NNRG Resource Library.

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