Tongass National Forest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Project Overview

Dates: January 2011—June 2012

Status: 
Completed

Primary Scientists: 

Tongass Map courtesy of US Forest Service
Climate scenarios of Tongass National Forest courtesy of Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning

The future climate in the Tongass National Forest will likely be different than both what we see now, and what we have seen in the past.  A changing climate in southeast Alaska influences social, ecological, and economic systems that interface with the environments managed by the USFS. The long-term nature of climate change and the complexity of social-ecological interactions with those changes result in considerable uncertainty. Uncertainty is a common feature in natural resource planning, and considering alternative future scenarios is a useful way to plan in the face of uncertainty.  
In order to better prepare the Tongass for what the uncertain future might hold in terms of climate change in Southeast Alaska, the US Forest Service and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) initiated the first of a three-phase vulnerability assessment.  In this phase we collaborated with Tongass NF staff and regional stakeholders in southeast Alaska to identify priority resources at risk under projected future climate scenarios.