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N orthern F orest F utures P roject. A look at tomorrow’s forests for better decisions today. Update of 3-year Partnership Effort. USDA Forest Service Eastern Region Forest Products Laboratory Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Northern Research Station

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N orthern f orest f utures p roject
Northern Forest Futures Project

A look at tomorrow’s forests for better decisions today

Update of 3 year partnership effort
Update of 3-year Partnership Effort

USDA Forest Service

Eastern Region

Forest Products Laboratory

Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Northern Research Station

Southern Research Station

Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters

University of Missouri

N orthern f orest f utures p roject

To forecast how known and emerging natural resource and societal trends will change the character of tomorrow’s forests and how the resulting changes will alter the ability of forests to contribute to the well-being of people and communities.

The to do list
The “To Do” List

  • Conceptualizingthe project

  • Organizing for implementation

  • Scoping of issues and trends impacting forests

  • Forecasting alternative futures based on those issue and trends

  • Assessing what those futures mean for people and forests


  • Partnerships forged

  • Framework Design Team formed

  • Project Framing Document completed

  • Steering Committee formed


  • Implementation Team staffed and chartered

  • Sub-teams organized for each phase

  • Sub-team work plans drafted

  • Web site up: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/futures/

  • Resources Garnered (~$850k NRS & R-9)

    • Dedicated talent (communications, projections, analyses)

    • Software (procurement, development)

    • Products (design, layout, publication)

  • Aligning internal talent with effort


  • Initial scoping and analysis of issues and trends completed and shared with Steering Committee

  • Hired a temporary communication specialist

  • Procured public comment gathering/analysis software

  • Cross-checking initial scoping with State Assessment issues

  • Planning second round of scoping to fill gaps in constituencies and issues

  • Scoping results feeding analyses and scenarios

N orthern f orest f utures p roject


  • Using US Forest Assessment System (USFAS)

    • Forecasts change in forest inventories 50 years into future

    • Developed for RPA; also used by SFFP, NFFP, and FIA

    • Uses empirical FIA plot data/trends to represent future conditions

    • Uses IPCC scenarios and climate change models

  • Funding a system post-doc

  • Calibrating and validating system modules/outputs

  • Initial projections for all 20 northern states by Sept 1.

  • IPCC Scenario projections for MO, IA, MN, WI, MI

  • Developing web tool for distributing futuring data

  • Developing custom scenarios for the north

Forecasting ipcc scenarios
Forecasting– IPCC Scenarios

3 IPCC Scenarios

  • A1B “market forces”

    • high economic growth

    • moderate population growth

    • Globalized emphasis on material wealth

  • A2 “clash of civilizations”

    • moderate economic growth

    • high population growth

    • Regionalized emphasis on material wealth

  • B2 “mixed sustainability”

    • low economic growth

    • low population growth

    • Regionalized sustainability and equity

Forecasting climate change
Forecasting– Climate Change

2000-2060: A1B MIROC vs. B2 HADTemperature Precipitation

4 Global Circulation Models

  • A1B “market forces”

    • MIROC

    • CGCM

    • CSIRO

  • A2 “clash of civilizations”

    • MIROC

    • CGCM

    • CSIRO

  • B2 “mixed sustainability”

    • HAD

    • CGCM

    • CSIRO

  • Downscaled by Price et al.

    • Basically Warmer and Drier

    • “Jailor Bring Me Water”

    N orthern f orest f utures p roject

    Forecasting – Alternative Futures

    Under IPCC scenarios with climate change

    N orthern f orest f utures p roject





    depictions of

    depictions of







    Forecasting - Outputs

    Tools, techniques, and products for delivering:

    Quantitative expressions of plausible futures


    • Hired 4 dedicated analysts

      Biological Systems

    • Baseline assessment of current forest conditions out for review


    • Comparative assessments of future forest conditions

      • Compare futures to current

      • Compare futures to one another

      • Summarize impacts of futures on contemporary issues

    • Threats

      • Invasive insects (emerald ash borer)

      • Invasive plants


    • Ecosystem Services

      • Wildlife

      • Water

    • Drivers

      • Biomass availability for bio-energy

      • Keep working forests working

    • Environmental literacy/Science delivery

      • Human habitat sustainability index?

      • Spin off pubs

    Northern forest futures project grand design
    Northern Forest Futures ProjectGrand Design

    Today’s forests reflect past policies, practices, and processes

    New issues, drivers, threats, stressors, etc

    Insights inform today’s choices




    Alters future forest benefits

    Change tomorrow’s forests


    future society

    Nffp outcomes

    Provide a solid contextual framework for comparisons across time and space

    Delineate Priority Areas & Put Green Lines Into Context today and tomorrow

    • Shed light on burgeoning trends, changing conditions, unforeseen consequences, tradeoffs, course corrections and knowledge gaps

    Inform today’s choices

    NFFP Outcomes


    N orthern f orest f utures p roject1
    N time and space orthern Forest Futures Project

    A look at tomorrow’s forests for better decisions today

    For updates: