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[ Forest Management Plans ]   -   [ Developing a Plan ]   -   [ Certifying Your Forest ]   -   [ Forest Legacy Planning ]   -   [ Climate Smart Forestry ]


Climate change is one of our most pressing global challenges, and sustainably managed forests are among our most important tools for addressing it. Forests are essential for reducing the impacts of climate change because they absorb carbon from the atmosphere at impressive rates and are increasingly managed for resilience in the face of climate change’s effects. Certification is the best way to ensure that a forest is sustainably managed. Vigorous and healthy forests that are sustainably managed are more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Sustainably managed forests also produce wood products that sequester carbon for extended periods—often decades. SFI-certified wood products can replace the use of more carbon-intensive products like concrete and steel. That means sustainably managed forests fight climate change while they’re growing—and long after they’re harvested.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), in collaboration with its network of partners, SFI-certified organizations, and implementation committees, is exerting leadership on climate change. Together, we are working to ensure well-managed forests and responsibly sourced forest products remain at the heart of climate change solutions because of their role in sequestering carbon.

Certification Standards Support Climate-Smart Forestry

The SFI Forest Management Standard requires a number of practices with direct climate benefits, such as ensuring forests remain vigorous and healthy, requiring harvested areas be promptly regenerated, and requiring programs and practices that reduce the likelihood of wildfire or reduce the proliferation of damaging invasive species. SFI’s 2022 Standards and Rules created a new climate smart forestry objective (SFI Forest Management Standard Objective 9) to ensure SFI-certified organizations are adapting their management practices to climate change and have opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.


Performance Measure 9.1 requires SFI-certified organizations to identify climate change risks to forests and forest operations, and the development of adaptation objectives and strategies.

Performance Measure 9.2 requires SFI-certified organizations to identify opportunities to mitigate climate-related impacts associated with forest operations.

The Climate Smart Forestry objective ensures that Certified Organizations are aware of the effects of their management on forest carbon dynamics as they relate to climate, and that such considerations are taken into account in business and forest management planning.

PNHP | Priorities for Climate Change Connectivity in Pennsylvania (Storymap)
The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program developed a climate change connectivity analysis for Pennsylvania, based primarily on the Nature’s Network project, facilitated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The results of this GIS spatial analysis highlight a statewide network of connected and resilient high biodiversity value terrestrial areas.
Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science | NIACS
The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) develops synthesis products, fosters communication, and pursues science in climate change and carbon cycling and management. NIACS is a collaborative entity that includes contribution from the US Forest Service, Michigan Tech, American Forests, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, University of Minnesota, University of Vermont, and Michigan State University.
NIACS | Adaptation Workbook
The online Adaptation Workbook takes users through a structured process designed to consider the potential effects of climate change and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The process is flexible and can accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems and land uses, management goals, and project sizes.
NIACS | Adaptation Workbook | A Climate Change Tool for Land Management and Conservation
NIACS Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management.
PA DCNR | Addressing Climate Change on Public Lands
PA DCNR’s climate change page, including a link to the PA DCNR Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan (2018).
PA DCNR | Resources Available for Forest Landowners and Managers for Climate Change Resilience
The Bureau of Forestry has produced a set of Managing for Forest Resilience fact sheets, each tailored to one of the four major ecoregions of Pennsylvania.
USDA Climate Change Tree Atlas | Climate Change Resource Center
The US Forest Service’s Climate Change Atlas can be used to examine the current distribution of tree habitats in the eastern United States, and how these habitat distributions might change in response to different climate scenarios.
USDA Northeast Climate Hub | Northeast Forests & Woodlands
The USDA Climate Hubs are working together with numerous organizations to address the major challenges that land managers face when considering how to integrate climate change into their planning and management activities. Tools and resources compiled on this website are not meant to be prescriptive, but instead to support pathways for individuals to devise management responses suitable to their specific goals and objectives on the landscape. The Hubs will continually incorporate new information, ideas, and lessons learned to shape the components of this emerging effort.
NOAA State Climate Summary 2022 | Pennsylvania
The State Climate Summaries spell out recent local conditions for each state and provide insights about the state’s climate outlook based on historical trends. The summaries, which are available both as web pages and downloadable PDFs ranging from four to six pages in length, describe historical temperature and precipitation conditions for each state and use several visual aids to show past observations and plausible future projections.
Fourth National Climate Assessment
The fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), completed in November 2018, assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It is a comprehensive and authoritative report on climate change and its impacts in the United States. (See Chapter 6: Forests; Chapter 18: Northeast)
USFS Climate Change Resource Center | Compendium of Adaptation Approaches
Adaptation Approaches help natural resource managers and landowners identify actions for responding to climate change. This tool provides a curated list of adaptation actions the helps you move from broad ideas to specific actions. Many illustrative examples of adaptation actions are included in this tool, but it is not a comprehensive list of all available options.
USFS | Vulnerability of Forests of the Midwest and Northeast United States to Climate Change (2018)
Forests of the Midwest and Northeast significantly define the character, culture, and economy of this large region but face an uncertain future as the climate continues to change. Forests vary widely across the region, and vulnerabilities are strongly influenced by regional differences in climate impacts and adaptive capacity.
Northeast and Northern Forests Regional Climate Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies (2015)
This vulnerability assessment reviews present knowledge of agricultural and forest susceptibility to climate variability in the Northeast and will serve as a guide to focus future adaptation work.
EPA | Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals
Resources for identifying sources of GHG emissions and options for reductions.
USFS | Considering Forest and Grassland Carbon in Land Management (2017)
This report (WO-GTR-95) describes the role of forest and grassland ecosystems in the carbon cycle and provides information for considering carbon as one of many objectives for land management activities.
Forest Carbon and Multi-Use Forest Management (webinar)
This webinar will provide an overview of concepts related to forest carbon sequestration and storage in the context of multiple-use forestry. These are concepts that forest managers and woodland owners should consider when including carbon as an objective in management.
Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation

CMRA integrates information from across the federal government to help people consider their local exposure to climate-related hazards. People working in community organizations or for local, Tribal, state, or Federal governments can use the site to help them develop equitable climate resilience plans to protect people, property, and infrastructure.

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