Climate Adaptation Training for Foresters

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2016: $58,461.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Northwest Natural Resource Group
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Kirk Hanson
Northwest Natural Resource Group

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: ornamentals, trees


  • Crop Production: forestry
  • Education and Training: workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, wildlife

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will train professional foresters in Washington and Oregon to help woodland owners prepare for and adapt to climate change. According to the National Woodland Owner Survey, the majority of woodland owners in the Pacific Northwest do not have forest stewardship plans for their property. Only a subset of those plans include forest management recommendations for adapting to climate change. As drought persists after a summer that ignited fires even in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula, forest owners are confronting the urgent reality of shifting conditions and the need to consider future climate variability in their current forest stewardship decisions. This project will create template language for stewardship plans in four Pacific Northwest forest types: Douglas-fir/mixed coniferous forests west of the Cascades, early seral or young stands, Oak/Douglas-fir and Oak/pine woodlands, and Ponderosa pine and lodgepole forests. Training for professional foresters in the use of these templates and other tools will draw from the USFS Adaptation Workbook, USFS Climate Project Screening Tool, the Climate Change Adaptation Library for the Western US, and other resources. Training will occur through workshops and webinars and will also include field tours and direct outreach to landowners to give foresters the opportunity to implement new skills. The final result will be an increased capacity of foresters to meet the growing and urgent need of woodland owners to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Create template language for forest management plans – Professional foresters do not currently have access to template climate adaptation language for forest management plans. This project will assemble a panel of experts to review existing lists of sensitivities, adaptation strategies, and adaptation tactics for Western forests and build updated lists and template management plan language that is relevant to Northwest woodlands. The panel will convene four times for conference calls over the first nine months of the project. Project partners will work with the panel to create draft and final strategy lists, and create draft and final plan templates. These templates will be posted on-line and distributed by email to over 2,000 foresters, landowners, and other recipients, with goal of at least 200 downloads. Templates will also be delivered to agencies in Washington and Oregon with recommendations for adoption as part of current management plan guidelines.


    Objective 2: Create training curriculum for professional foresters - The project team will assemble a forest adaptation training curriculum for professional foresters based on templates from Objective 1, the USFS Climate Change Response Framework trainings for professional foresters in the Midwest and Northeast, the USFS Climate Project Screening Tool, and other resources. The curriculum will include content for 4 webinars, 2 training workshops, and 2 field tours. This curriculum will provide an ongoing training resource as climate adaptation planning becomes a standard component of landowner assistance in coming years. Curriculum development will occur during the spring of 2017.


    Objective 3: Train 30 professional foresters – The core objective of this project is to train at least 30 professional foresters in Washington and Oregon to provide climate change adaptation assistance to woodland owners. Training will occur through 4 webinars, 2 training workshops, and 2 field tours. The webinars will each cover one of four Pacific Northwest forest types: Douglas-fir/mixed coniferous, early seral, Oak/Douglas-fir, and Ponderosa pine. We will give priority to professional foresters seeking to participate in trainings, but will also allow woodland owners to attend if feasible. Webinars will occur between July 2017 and June 2018. Workshops and field tours will occur in the spring and summer of 2018.


    Objective 4: Conduct outreach to landowners – The final project objective is to conduct outreach to woodland owners to advertise professional resources and climate adaptation templates for forest management plans. Outreach will occur through partner email lists, websites, social media, and up to 10 landowner site visits. To help woodland owners understand how trained professional foresters might assist them, we will also develop two case studies of woodland owners incorporating climate adaptation into their forest management plans. Landowner outreach will occur from January 2018 until the project completion in 2019.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.