Final Report: Identifying and Evaluating Adaptation Science for Forest Habitats and Bird Communities in the Northeast
The impacts of climate change and forest pests and diseases are making it harder for natural resource managers to sustain important forest habitat for wildlife species and, more generally, sustain the benefits that we all derive from forest ecosystems. The natural resource management and research communities have a general understanding of what broad climate adaptation strategies may to best to navigate these mounting challenges. But what we don’t yet fully understand is how effective implementation of these broad strategies actually is, in particular forest types and in particular places. Plus, the research community needs to better understand what knowledge and tools managers need to resolve remaining uncertainties and to overcome barriers to implementing climate adaptation tactics in the forests they manage. To address this, we undertook four interrelated research efforts to identify the science needs of managers and to evaluate how well climate adaptation can sustain forest habitat. More specifically, we surveyed rural and urban foresters, developed on-the-ground experiments with managers to test the effectiveness of adaptation actions, interviewed managers to capture the trade-offs they face when managing for forest carbon and habitat, and simulated climate adaptation across the Northeast with a computer model. The results of these efforts will help us to refine recommendations and guidance for managers as they strive to sustain our forests in an uncertain future, and they will help us to tailor our future science to address the specific needs of managers.