16. Climate Change and Your Woodland: Assessing Risk and Adapting to Change

Activities: Climate Change and Your Woodland

How these activities will help you as a woodland owner:

In addition to your management plan, these activities will help you prepare for uncertainty in your woodland’s future.

1. Journal the changes you observe

Your own observations can provide an important record of change through time. If you’re in the habit of journaling, keep a woodland journal with your observations and notes throughout the year. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can still learn a lot through time by recording the dates of weather-related events like first and last snow, leaf-out dates, flowering dates, migration events, and more. This record will be valuable for future generations!

2. Explore the Climate Change Tree Atlas

Visit the USDA Forest Service’s Climate Change Tree Atlas website and select one of your favorite tree species. Enter the name of the tree in the “Search for Trees and Birds” box on the right side, and explore the tabs (Current Habitat and Projected Future Habitat) to learn more!

3. Understand your woodland’s vulnerability

Examine Figure 16-1 and how it applies to your woodland. Think about how topics such as as tree species diversity apply in your woods. Do you have more of the risk factors that increase climate change vulnerability? Or do you have more conditions that reduce vulnerability from climate change?  Doing this activity will help you get a more specific understanding of risk for your woods. It will also provide helpful talking points for working with a professional forester!

4. Identify adaptation actions that are already a part of your plan

Do you already have a Woodland Stewardship Plan for your property?  If you do, flip through the plan and see if you can identify any climate change adaptation actions that might already be part of your plan.

5. Talk with a forester about climate change risks

Talk with your forester about topics related to climate change and your woodland. Ask them to talk to you about climate change risks, and what management actions they would consider to reduce those risks. Think about how climate change adaptation could be applied on your property.


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Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 3rd Edition Copyright © 2019 by University of Minnesota Extension is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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