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Forest Service Roadmap Addresses Climate Change and Develops Scorecard System

By Robert Westover, USDA Forest Service Office of Communcations

Working to implement and respond to the USDA strategic plan, the Forest Service’s National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change sets priorities for responding to a changing climate. USDA’s strategic plan was announced in mid-June. The plan describes the Department’s major programmatic policies and covers the myriad programs and services that USDA administers. Under the plan, Forest Service field units will be held accountable for showing progress each year.

The national roadmap is part of the overall and ongoing effort by the Forest Service to restore forest and grassland landscapes. One of the measurement criteria of the national roadmap is a scorecard rating system to be used by all national forests and grasslands to gage the success of efforts to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. The prime components of the scorecard system consist of four categories. They are:

  • Organizational Capacity: educating employees on climate change issues
  • Partnerships: working with organizations (both public and private) on climate change education
  • Mitigation: reducing energy, emissions, water use and other environmental footprints
  • Adaptation: monitor impacts of climate change and adjust land management policy accordingly.

The scorecard reinforces the Forest Service’s commitment to make the nation’s forests and grasslands more resilient to climate change. Forests can’t be properly managed unless we have full engagement with partners and communities. The scorecard will assist in striking this balance.

Most importantly, the national roadmap and scorecard rating system will give Forest Service employees a way to bring science and technology into play in order to assess, adapt to and mitigate climate change. It will also make our national forests accountable for engaging with communities and partners in responding to climate change.

To read or download the national roadmap and scorecard rating system go to:  http://www.fs.fed.us/climatechange/climate-update.shtml

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