Using a scorecard to assess progress in incorporating climate change considerations in managing the US National Forest System

2012 EEEN Forum / Evaluation

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.

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