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Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework

[photo:] Aerial view of northern hardwoods in fall colorsA collaboration of the USDA Forest Service and many organizations, the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework (NCCRF) engages forest managers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in a comprehensive, all-lands approach for integrating climate change into on-the-ground forest management.

Partnerships within the NCCRF:

  • encourage collaboration and communication between organizations and individuals
  • provide the forestry community with quality information about forests and climate change
  • identify gaps in current scientific knowledge
  • discuss management challenges and opportunities
  • support climate-informed forest management practices through training opportunities and adaptation demonstration projects

The NCCRF is one of three regional Climate Change Response Framework projects in the eastern United States, and is led by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. Each regional project interweaves four components: science and management partnerships, vulnerability assessments, adaptation resources, and real-world adaptation examples.


The Forest Service has partnered with many organizations to make this project a success.

Acres of Forest Affected
64 million
NIACS Established           
2 full-time coordinators,
plus supporting staff
Active National Forests Involved
Total spending on Climate Change Response Framework projects
(all partner contributions, FY2009-FY2012)
$3 million
Base Annual Budget of NIACS



To date, the NCCRF has:

  • Connected more than 40 organizations and agencies to address broad landscape-scale concerns.
  • Published a vulnerability assessment for northern Wisconsin’s forests to identify the tree species and forest communities most at risk in a changing climate. Three additional assessments will be available in 2013, spanning the entire region.
  • Summarized additional scientific information, including an assessment of mitigation potential of northern Wisconsin’s forests, scientific applications and needs of climate change science, and lessons learned from this project.
  • Engaged hundreds of land managers in considering climate change through reports, briefings, websites, and more than 100 presentations.
  • Developed Forest Adaptation Resources, a suite of information, ideas, and tools to help managers integrate climate change information into management planning and decision making.


Currently, six NCCRF adaptation projects provide real-world examples of forest adaptation across thousands of acres of federal, tribal, and private lands. Additional demonstrations are under development. The NCCRF demystifies scientific information on climate change and helps forest management organizations and professionals to identify and implement practical solutions for enhancing forest adaptation to changing conditions. NCCRF products and activities culminate in the actual implementation of forest management activities that explicitly consider the potential risks and opportunities of a changing climate.

Lessons Learned

Partnerships have been a cornerstone of the NCCRF since its inception. The global scale of climate change means that it is inherently a cross-boundary issue, and solutions need to be implemented across ownerships, landscapes, and regions. The success of this project is attributed to the use of partnerships to unite people, efficiently use and leverage resources, and apply the best available science.

[photo:] Linda Parker, ecologist, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.


"This scientist-manager partnership is proving to be a model in itself. Pooling our unique skills and resources to tackle such a complex problem makes sense. I can’t imagine approaching it any other way."
-- Linda Parker, ecologist, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Partner Organizations

Last Modified: July 31, 2019