Using a scorecard to assess progress in incorporating climate change considerations in managing the US National Forest System
David A. Cleaves, US Forest Service
Climate change is a major concern to the US Forest Service. Most of the urgent forest and grassland management challenges of the past 20 years, such as wildfires, changing water regimes, and expanding forest insect infestations, have been driven, in part, by a changing climate. Future impacts are projected to be even more severe. These impacts necessitate the use of evaluation processes to determine the nature and extent of current and predicted impacts as well as the organisational capacity of the US Forest Service to respond to climate-induced disturbances. We developed a Climate Change Scorecard as an evaluation tool to assess the agency’s organisational capacity and progress in incorporating climate change considerations in management plans and prescriptions. It will be used in 2011-2015 to assess progress in employing mitigation and adaptation strategies. The Climate Change Scorecard is comprised of ten questions across four dimensions of Forest Service climate change response: organisational capacity; partnerships, engagement and education; adaptation; and mitigation and sustainable consumption, and is completed by 113 reporting units. The information provided by the scorecard has been useful for individual Forest Supervisors, Regional Foresters, and the National Climate Change Advisor’s Office to identify areas for improvement as well as support needed by the operating units. This presentation includes a description of the scorecard development process, synthesis of the baseline assessment, 2011 scorecard results, and the lessons learned in developing and using a scorecard to assess progress in meeting the strategic goals of the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture.