The effects of a changing climate can be seen throughout the nation's forests and grasslands. Examples include longer and more severe fire seasons; reduced snowpack, earlier snowmelt, and changes in stream flow patterns; a marked decrease in sap runs in sugar maple trees; shifts in the distribution of some tree species; and increasing stress on some native fish and wildlife species.
To get a better handle on climate change the USDA Forest Service now has a National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change. The Roadmap lays out actions to incorporate adaptation, mitigation, sustainable consumption, and education objectives into existing programs, policies, and processes; coordinate among programs in implementing climate change strategies; and build strong partnerships with other agencies, tribes, States, communities, and citizens.
Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says they are committed to playing a leading role in responding to climate change and making the nation's forests and grasslands more resilient. The recently created Climate Change Resource Center will provide information and tools to land managers to address climate change in project planning. The agency has more than two decades of climate change research - which is supported by other research in watershed hydrology, fire management, nutrient cycling, wildlife and forest management.