IAP map

IAP is a Forest Service science-management collaboration with following goals:

  1. Increase climate change awareness;
  2. Assess the vulnerability of natural resources and ecosystem services to climate change; and
  3. Develop science-based adaptation strategies that can be used by national forests to understand and mitigate the effects of climate change.

IAP News

Project Overview


  • Develop a framework and tools for resource managers to incorporate the best available science into landscape/planning assessments, resource management and planning, resource monitoring, project design, NEPA analysis, conservation strategies, and State Wildlife Action Plan updates.
  • Synthesize the best available scientific information to assess climate change vulnerability and develop adaption options throughout the U.S. Intermountain ecoregion in order to understand and mitigate potentially adverse effects of climate change on natural resources and ecosystem services.

Target Outcomes

  • The vulnerability assessment will provide information on climate change effects needed for national forest plans, project plans, conservation strategies, and restoration. The assessment will be particularly useful for national forest planning and management.
  • Climate change sensitivities and adaptation options developed at the regional scale will provide the scientific foundation for sub-regional and national forest vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning, and resource monitoring.
  • Training will be provided to resource specialists who, in conjunction with place-based information, can apply climate change to land management throughout the region.
  • Climate change will be operationalized throughout the region resource management and planning.

Focus Area

The focus areas of this project will be developed in the first phases of the project. Proposed focus areas are: Physical Resources, Vegetation Resources, Terrestrial Species, Aquatic Species, Infrastructure, Recreational Uses, Cultural Heritage, Ecosystem Services, and Disturbance.

The Intermountain Region of the Forest Service includes 12 national forests: Ashley, Boise, Bridger-Teton, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-LaSal, Payette, Salmon-Challis, Sawtooth, Caribou-Targhee, Humboldt-Toiyabe, and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests.

The current proposal is to address the project areas in 5 main subregions: Middle Rockies, Southern Greater Yellowstone, Uintas and Wasatch Front, Plateaus, and Great Basin and Semi Desert. Other potential study areas could include nearby areas such as National Parks and other federal, state or other governmental lands.

Approach & Timeline


  • Establish an effective long-term science-management partnership involving multiple agencies and stakeholders to continually assess climate change science and its implications for biophysical and social resources. Develop this science-management partnership comprised of key personnel from throughout the region, national forests, national parks, Forest Service research stations, and other organizations. (Spring/Summer 2015)
  • Conduct a vulnerability assessment of priority resources (species, ecosystems, ecosystem services) (Summer/Fall 2015) and develop associated adaptation strategies (Winter/Spring 2016) to help build resistance, enhance resilience, and facilitate ecological transitions for the Intermountain ecoregion.
    • The assessment and adaptation strategy will be peer reviewed and published, providing the scientific foundation for operationalizing climate change in planning, ecological restoration, and project management.
  • Educate and engage with partners, stakeholders, decision makers, planners, and resource specialists to:
    • Build an enduring partnership to facilitate application of climate-smart management.
    • Provide tools to incorporate and apply adaptation options through assessment, planning, project implementation, and monitoring.
  • Write a draft climate change vulnerability assessment that addresses the priority resource areas.
  • Convene workshops for the science-management partnership and other participants to identify the most significant vulnerabilities to climate change throughout the region, and develop specific adaptation strategies and tactics. Conduct workshops for each subregion with scientists, land managers, conservation practitioners, and other stakeholders to review the vulnerability assessment. (Spring 2016)
    • Downscale information from the region-wide assessment to identify the most significant vulnerabilities to climate change for priority resources in each subregion.
    • Identify adaptation strategies and tactics to reduce resource vulnerabilities. Adaptation strategies and tactics will be linked to corresponding management operation levels at different spatial and temporal scales.
    • 2-Day Workshop dates in May/June 2016
  • Develop guidance for the implementation of adaptation strategies and tactics at various management operation levels (project design, resource program, and forest planning).
  • The partnership builds on the success of three similar climate change partnerships - in the Olympic Peninsula, the North Cascades, Washington (North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership), and the Blue Mountains of Oregon (Blue Mountains Adaptation Partnership). These efforts provide a foundation for climate change adaptation work on national forests and adjacent lands.
  • Compile all information in a report, conduct peer review, and publish the report.


April 21, 2015:  Kickoff Meeting, Ogden, Utah

May 2015 – April 2016:  Compile information for vulnerability assessment

June 11, 2015:  Partner and Informational Webinar

March 2016:  Focus Area Webinars, approximately 10 one-hour webinars

May/June 2016:  Convene workshops for science-management partnership in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho/Wyoming; review vulnerability assessment and development adaptation options

June 2016 – June 2017:  Complete final report, review, and submit for publication