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Modern, sustainable forest management leads to climate-smart outcomes in working forests.

Outcome 4

Forest Adaptation to Climate Change

Climate change is impacting forests in fundamental ways, from increased disturbances to changes in species habitats to increases in temperature and CO2 fertilization. Sustainable forest management helps forests adapt to changing climate and weather conditions. Understanding how forests can best adapt to future climate change-driven fluctuations will be essential.

How do we know forests are adapting to climate change?

USDA has periodic reports on climate adaptation, e.g., Domke et al 2023 Forests (, however outcomes are best seen through other indicators (e.g., carbon stocks, forest health, fire).

Ensuring Forests Can adapt to climate change:

Sustainable Forest Certification addresses climate adaptation through explicit requirements focused on understanding climate risks and adaptation measures.

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative- Performance Measure 9.1 Certified Organizations shall individually and/or through cooperative efforts involving SFI Implementation Committees or other partners identify and address the climate change risks to forests and forest operations and develop appropriate adaptation objectives and strategies. Strategies are based on best scientific information.

Fiber Sourcing Certifications require funding for research focused on climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative Fiber Sourcing – Performance Measure 5.3. Certified Organizations shall individually and/or through cooperative efforts involving SFI Implementation Committees, associations or other partners broaden the awareness of climate change impacts on forests, wildlife, and biological diversity.

Ensuring Forest Management is Climate Smart

In the U.S., assurances are in place to verify that our forests are sustainably managed and climate smart through a mosaic of overlapping and mutually reinforcing local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations, state-approved forestry best management practices (BMPs), and third-party forest management and wood fiber sourcing certification programs.

NAFO’s Environmental Benefits Report

Did you know that private working forests are one of the most environmentally valuable natural resources in the U.S. but one of the least understood? To learn more about the positive impacts of sustainable forest management on carbon, water, and wildlife, check out this comprehensive report from the National Alliance of Forest Owners.