Adaptation Workbook

The Adaptation Workbook homepage
The Adaptation Workbook homepage

The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process 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 completely flexible to accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems and land uses, management goals, and project sizes. The Workbook consists of 5 basic steps: 1. Define goals and objectives 2. Assess climate impacts and vulnerabilities 3. Evaluate objectives considering climate impacts 4. Identify adaptation approaches and tactics for implementation 5. Monitor effectiveness of implemented actions The Workbook was created by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, and this process is described in Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd Edition. Complete information about the Workbook and the Climate Change Response Framework is available in that publication. The Workbook is also available for agriculture, which is described in Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast.


More information is becoming available on climate change projections and potential impacts on natural resources and agriculture. Unfortunately, most of this information doesn't seem applicable because many land owners and managers are unsure how climate change might actually apply at the scales that are relevant to their work. The Adaptation Workbook was created to bridge this gap. The Workbook provides users with a flexible, logical process to consider climate change information and design customized management actions that can help achieve their management objectives.


The online Adaptation Workbook requires substantial information inputs from the user, drawing upon their understanding and knowledge of the property or topic of interest. Before beginning the process, it may be helpful to assemble information about the property including management plans, maps, or forest inventory data.


The Workbook leads the user through a process to evaluate management goals and objectives in light of climate change, addressing both the challenges and opportunities that climate change might pose on their management activities. It provides a platform for the user to develop and evaluate custom adaptation actions that may help adapt to expected conditions. The Workbook also helps the user develop a monitoring plan to see if adaptation actions were effective.

The end result is a written plan containing each of these elements that can be exported and downloaded as a PDF document.

Restrictions and Limitations: 
The Workbook is not intended to provide specific guidance or replace other forms of management planning. Rather, it relies on the experience and expertise of natural resource professionals and landowners and is meant to complement existing management planning and decision-making systems. The Workbook requires a substantial amount of input from the user and user knowledge (of the ecosystem, management techniques). The quality of the final plan will depend on the quality of information provided by the user. The online Workbook is mostly text-based; all work is auto-saved by the application every few seconds. Before beginning, users should be prepared to type and read, using a computer screen that is large enough to read clearly, in a comfortable workspace. The Workbook process may take several hours or longer, depending on the complexity of the project and user familiarity with climate change information.
Tool Developers: 

Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub

Land Manager
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