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You are here: Home Cooperative Our Plan Section 1: Biodiversity and Conservation Challenges Across the Appalachian Region Federal Conservation Agencies & Climate Change

Federal Conservation Agencies & Climate Change

Department of Interior

DOI Secretarial Order No. 3289 (2009) provides a framework to coordinate efforts among Interior bureaus and to integrate and leverage science and management expertise with partners.  Landscape Conservation Cooperatives  and DOI Climate Science Centers form the cornerstones of this integrated approach to climate-change science and adaptation. Each has a distinct science and resource-management role but also shares complementary capacities and capabilities.  The Department committed to bringing new resources to the table to meet climate change challenges:

Climate Change Impact Science: Regional Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives will conduct and communicate research and monitoring, improving our understanding and forecasting of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. They will support strategic decisions in response to those vulnerabilities, with CSCs providing centers for basic climate change science associated with broad regions of the country and LCCs focusing more on applied science at the landscape level.

Data Integration and Dissemination: This effort will support the integration of our nation’s scientific database, improving availability and dissemination of climate change impact and vulnerability information, and access and decision-support to scientists, resource managers, decision makers, and the general public through and other appropriate mechanisms.

Enabling Science-Based Adaptation Strategies: By providing integrated scientific and technical capacities to support cultural and natural resource managers, they will be able to design and implement strategic and adaptive responses to changing climate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Strategic Plan and for Climate Change (2009) and 5-Year Action Plan (2009) first presented the concept of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.  The FWS and DOI established the network of LCCs to guide the Department’s responses to climate change  and the attenuating impacts of other large-scale stressors that interact with climate drivers.  Conservation paradigms are shifting nationally as a result of climate change influences and there is an urgent need to form partnerships that have large geographic visions for activities to be planned and sustained over longer time periods.  The Fish and Wildlife Service has adopted three key strategies to address climate change: Adaptation, Mitigation, and Engagement.

Adaptation is defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. For the Service, adaptation is planned, science-based management actions that we take to help reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Adaptation forms the core of the Service’s response to climate change and is the centerpiece of our Strategic Plan. This adaptive response to climate change will involve strategic conservation of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats within sustainable landscapes.

Mitigation is defined by the IPCC as human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases. Mitigation involves reducing our “carbon footprint” by using less energy, consuming fewer materials, and appropriately altering our land management practices. Mitigation is also achieved through biological carbon sequestration, the process in which CO2 from the atmosphere is taken up by plants through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in tree trunks, branches and roots. Sequestering carbon in vegetation such as bottomland hardwood forests or native prairie grasses can often restore or improve habitat and directly benefit fish and wildlife.

Engagement involves reaching out to Service employees, local, national and international partners in the public and private sectors; key constituencies and stakeholders; and everyday citizens to join forces and seek solutions to the challenges to fish and wildlife conservation posed by climate change. By building knowledge and sharing information in a comprehensive and integrated way, the Service and its partners and stakeholders will increase our understanding of global climate change impacts on species and their habitats and use our combined expertise and creativity to help wildlife resources adapt in a climate-impacted world.


Department of Agriculture

U.S. Forest Service - The National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change ( is the Forest Service's blueprint for responding to a changing climate and is part of the overall and ongoing effort by the Agency to restore forest and grassland landscapes. One of the measurement criteria of the Forest Service’s 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 guidance documents climate change considerations and decision processes to provide the agency with the support needed to appropriately incorporate climate change into land management planning and project- level documentation. The guidance documents frame climate change with two fundamental challenges: how management may influence climate change mainly through incremental changes to global pools of greenhouse gases and how climate change may affect forests and grasslands. These guidance documents intended to be dynamic and adaptive as scientists discover more about climate change science, its application to adaptation and mitigation strategies, and appropriate analysis at the unit and project scales.


Department of Defense

US Army Corps of Engineers - In 2010, the ACE Water Resources Center published the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Adaptation to Climate Change (

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