Office of Sustainability and Climate

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Performance Scorecard National Roadmap
National Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Story Map
A new story map tool will help managers, researchers, and other professionals access information about climate-related changes happening to a wide range of natural and cultural resources.
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National Roadmap
The Roadmap will help to guide the Forest Service as it works to ensure that national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change.
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Vulnerability Assessments

Climate change vulnerability assessments bring together scientific research and observations from multiple disciplines to identify and quantify the expected impacts of climate change. These assessments can focus on understanding current and predicted climate changes and what is causing them, the consequences of climate change, and/or the response options. They can vary greatly in their scope, from addressing climate change globally to looking at a specific location or resource

The National Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Story Map is Now Available

The Office of Sustainability and Climate, in collaboration with Region 6, is pleased to announce the release of a new tool to help managers, researchers, and other professionals access information about climate-related changes happening to a wide range of natural and cultural resources. The National Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Story Map provides essential information for future management decisions in a format that is easy to access and customize for specific needs and areas of interest. Interactive maps for each Forest Service region allow users to see specifics of various vulnerability assessment projects and filter information by 13 different resource topic areas. 

Downloadable Products

National Roadmap

National Roadmap PDF

National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change. PDF, 3.24 MB, 32 pp

Roadmap Summary Brochure. PDF, 551 K, 2 pp

All National Forests are working on strategies to adjust and prepare for new conditions created by changing climates (adaptation), and to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere (mitigation). To guide the Forest Service in achieving this goal, we have developed a Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change.

See our national roadmap page.

NFS Carbon Assessments

National Roadmap PDF

Our forests – national forests as well as private and other public forests – provide an important ecosystem service in the form of carbon sequestration – the uptake and storage of carbon in forests and wood products. This service is becoming more valuable as the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are becoming more fully understood and experienced. The Forest Service has always led efforts to practice, develop, and demonstrate sound and sustainable management of forest-based resources; the management of forest carbon is no exception.

The Forest Service has developed regional carbon assessment reports (whitepapers) to help forest managers and the public understand how much carbon is stored in forest ecosystems and harvested wood products. The baseline forest carbon reports provide information from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data on carbon stocks and trends for seven different forest ecosystem carbon pools – above-ground live tree, below-ground live tree, standing dead, understory, down dead wood, forest floor and soil organic carbon – for the baseline period 1990 to 2013 (and 2005 to 2013, truncation of the longer baseline). These reports also provide estimates of carbon stored in HWP over longer time periods depending upon data availability. This is provided as a nationally consistent data set with which we can better understand geographic differences and important trends.

Carbon stock and trend information, in conjunction with companion assessments on forest carbon disturbances (currently being developed) will help inform forest managers and the public of the relationship between carbon storage and past management and disturbance impacts and to begin considering the short and long-term carbon consequences of alternative forest management strategies.

Due to these differences in sampling between periodic and annual inventories, there can be variation in the regional data between the two time series segments – pre 2000 and post 2000 (exact years dependent on individual state). As a result of these differences, the assessments on the FIA website include carbon estimates for two baselines – 1990 to 2013, and 2005 to 2013. Regional climate change coordinators have conferred with regional FIA leadership to designate which of the two baselines they will use. This page has the assessments with the baseline period chosen by our regional staff and the rationale for using one baseline over the other. Both 1990 and 2005 are commonly used baseline years for international negotiations and therefore acceptable in planning and management decisions.

NFS Carbon Assessments Briefing Paper. PDF 378 KB, 3 pp
Northern Region (R1) Report. PDF 2252 KB, 43 pp
Rocky Mountain Region (R2) Report. PDF 2128 KB, 41 pp
Southwestern Region (R3) Report. PDF 2093 KB, 41 pp
Intermountain Region (R4) Report. PDF 2139 KB, 42 pp
Pacific Southwest Region (R5) Report. PDF 2263 KB, 45 pp
Pacific Northwest Region (R6) Report. PDF 2334 KB, 48 pp
Southern Region (R8) Report. PDF 2346 KB, 44 pp
Eastern Region (R9) Report. PDF 2174 KB, 43 pp
Alaska Region (R10) Report. PDF 1802 KB, 34 pp
Regional Baseline Rationales. PDF  297 KB, 3 pp
Contact Karen Dante ( for ecosystem carbon stocks and harvested wood products datasets.

Carbon Infographic

carbon inforgraphic of the NFS carbon assessments

Carbon Infographic. PDF, 1.5 KB, 1 pp

Developed by the Climate Change Resource Center, this carbon infographic distills the main findings of the NFS carbon assessments (see section above), in addition to providing a quick overview of the carbon cycle, carbon measurement scales, equivalencies and carbon management activities.

Performance Scorecard

National Roadmap PDF

Climate Change Performance Scorecard. PDF, 32 K, 32 pp

Guidance Document. PDF, 2.2 MB, 104 pp

Scorecard Summary Postcard. PDF, 2.8 MB, 2 p

Since 2011, each National Forest and Grassland has used a 10-point scorecard to report accomplishments and plans for improvement on ten questions in four dimensions – organizational capacity, engagement, adaptation, and mitigation. By 2015, each is expected to answer yes to at least seven of the scorecard questions, with at least one yes in each dimension. The goal is to create a balanced approach to climate change that includes managing forests and grasslands to adapt to changing conditions, mitigating climate change, building partnerships across boundaries, and preparing our employees to understand and apply emerging science.

See our performance scorecard page.

Strategic Framework

National Roadmap PDF

Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell summarizes the Strategic Framework. PDF, 103 K, 10 p

The Strategic Framework for Responding to Climate Change is based on the Forest Service mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forest and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Read more about the strategic framework on the FS Climate site.


Climate Change Adaptation in the US Federal Natural Resource Science and Management Agencies: A Synthesis

Climate Change Adaptation in the United States Federal Natural Resource Science and Management Agencies: A Synthesis

In response to recent direction by the President to prepare for the impacts of climate change, the Forest Service has collaborated with the U.S. Global Change Research Program to publish a report on accomplishments by federal agencies in adapting to climate change. This landmark publication, funded by the Forest Service Climate Change Advisor’s Office and written by Forest Service and University of Washington scientists, summarizes adaptation strategies and on-the-ground tactics developed by federal resource management and science agencies.

National Roadmap PDF

USDA Forest Service Climate Change Adaptation Plan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Climate Change Adaptation Plan presents strategies and actions to address the effects of climate change on key mission areas including agricultural production, food security, rural development, and forestry and natural resources conservation.

National Roadmap PDF

National Climate Assessment Forest Sector Technical Report

This report is a scientific assessment of the current condition and likely future condition of forest resources in the United States relative to climatic variability and change. It serves as the U.S. Forest Service forest sector technical report for the National Climate Assessment and includes descriptions of key regional issues and examples of a risk-based framework for assessing climate-change effects.

National Roadmap PDF

The President’s Climate Action Plan

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is a government-wide plan for executive actions and heightened emphasis on dealing with compelling risks and opportunities of a changing climate. The plan is not only a set of actions and priorities, but also a statement to Americans and world citizens that climate change is a serious issue impacting us today, not just sometime in the future, and that dealing with it is the responsibility of all federal agencies and their partners, not some specialized or elite group working on an isolated issue.

National Roadmap PDF

Wood as a Sustainable Material – Progress on USDA Directives

In 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material and directed the Forest Service to take the lead in implementing the strategy by favoring wood in new building construction, enhancing research and development projects to expand opportunities as green building materials, and identifying innovative uses of wood in nonresidential construction projects.