Climate Change & Forest Management

Assessing the First Generation of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments

Project Background

In light of current and anticipated impacts of climate change on national forests, the Forest Service has been conducting climate change vulnerability assessments for different resources at various scales. While there has been diversity in the scale and focus of vulnerability assessments, all have the collective goal of supporting improved land management decisions in light of predicted, yet uncertain, impacts from climate change. We have worked with the Forest Service’s Office of Sustainability and Climate to investigate vulnerability assessments and how they are used in management. We also have researched corporate philanthropic investments in national forest management related to management for climate change.

Our Objectives

This study looks at the compendium of vulnerability assessments that the agency has completed to assess lessons learned thus far and improve the utility of vulnerability assessments going forward.



Phase 1 Objective: Characterize the range of content, approaches, and findings of Forest Service vulnerability assessments that have occurred to date.

Timberlake, T.J., Schultz, C.A. 2019. Climate change vulnerability assessment for forest management: the case of the U.S. Forest Service. Forests 10, 1030; Available at:

Schultz, C. A., Timberlake, T.J., Wurtzebach, Z.P., McIntyre, K.B., Moseley, C. 2019. Policy tools to address scale mismatches: Insights from US forest governance. Ecology and Society 24 (1):21. Available at:


Phase 2 Objective: Evaluate the connection between vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning, and management action.

Publication coming soon!


Phase 3 Objective: Evaluate the factors that facilitate the implementation of climate change vulnerability assessment information into forest-level and project planning.

Coughlan, M.R., Huber-Stearns, H., and Schultz, C.A. 2020. Factors Influencing National Forests’ Use of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments: Findings from a Pilot Study. Ecosystem Workforce Program Fact Sheet #21. Fall 2020. Fact Sheet #21

Publication coming soon!


Phase 4 Objective: Identify mechanisms to motivate and maintain private actor investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation activities on national forests.

Collins, N., and C. Schultz. 2020. Motivations and Mechanisms Underlying U.S. Forest Service Corporate Partnerships. CSU Public Lands Policy Group Practitioner Paper 6. Summer 2020. PLPG Practitioner Paper #6

Publication coming soon!

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