One of the most significant issues the Forest Service faces is the effects of climate change on the Nation’s natural resources.
Many of you already know a lot about climate change and are familiar with the concepts and consequences. For some of you, this may be new territory. Increasing the awareness and understanding of this important issue with our partners and with communities is essential to our success. The first step is to understand what the science tells us.
The Forest Service has been on the cutting edge of climate research for decades. In 2007, 13 Forest Service scientists were recognized for their contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and shared in the Nobel Peace Prize.
It is clear our forests are changing. We have measured changes in forest productivity, species composition, susceptibility to insect attack, and fire behavior. As the forests change, so do their ability to provide us water, fish and wildlife habitats, recreation opportunities, and all the other environmental services we take for granted.
The science shows us that the average surface temperature on Earth is rising. Sea levels are predicted by some to rise several feet just in this century. In time, every living thing could be affected. The threat is real, but so are the solutions.
The Forest Service is in a unique position to address climate change. We manage 193 million acres of national forest and grassland, we work with other wildland managers across the country; we conduct world-class research; we connect with thousands of communities in this country and many around the world through our many programs.
Our job as conservation leaders is to understand climate change issues and to help find ways to adapt to, and reduce its impacts over the long term. Our partners have been a key part of our success in providing careful stewardship of the Nation’s forests and grasslands. The Forest Service will continue to work with you to share ideas and identify solutions as we address climate change.
The video you are about to watch gives an overview of climate change and how the Forest Service is addressing it. I want to thank our colleagues of the Forestry Commission of the United Kingdom for providing several of the animated visuals. Versions of this video are being shared with many other countries and forestry organizations. I am delighted with the rapid spread of awareness.
I believe that climate change is the conservation challenge of the 21st century and that trees, forests, and forest ecosystems are part of the answer. Future generations will judge our generation by how well we all respond.
Climate change is a very serious matter and I certainly don’t have all the answers. The Forest Service cannot solve this alone. We need the ideas of many. I hope you’ll work with us to spread the word about the important role of forests in climate change mitigation.
Our website is one source of additional information on climate change and I hope you'll visit there.
We appreciate all of our partners and value the connections we have with you. We look forward to working with you as we grow in our understanding and take action to address climate change on our Nation's resources .Thank you for all you do to care for the Nation's forests.