Assessment and Synthesis

We conduct climate change assessment and science synthesis to improve understanding of climate change impacts on ecosystems and associated environmental services. The examples below illustrate how the NIACS partnership helps provide essential information to the land management community. 

Vulnerability Assessments

NIACS has worked with hundreds of partners across the Midwest and Northeast to create a series of regional forest vulnerability assessments that provide detailed information about climate change impacts and ecosystem vulnerability. These Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability and Synthesis documents are published as General Technical Reports through the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, and provide a foundation of “best available science” for land managers from federal, state, tribal, private, and conservation organizations. 


Carbon Syntheses

Collaborators from Michigan Technological University, American Forests, NCASI, and the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station have collaborated on large-scale soil carbon analyses for multiple regions in the US. These assessments provide land managers with regionally-specific information about how forest management, fire, and other disturbances can affect the soil carbon stocks in that landscape. The most recent assessment, Land-use change and forest management effects on soil carbon stocks in the Northeast U.S. was published in 2024.

Urban Forestry

NIACS, American Forests, USDA Forest Service, Michigan Tech, and other partners have worked together to develop climate change vulnerability assessments for urban forests in several large metro areas: Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Boston Austin, and Puget Sound. These assessments incorporate information from habitat suitability models, projected changes in heat and hardiness zones, scientific literature, and forest manager expertise to assess the effects of climate change on urban and community forests. In addition to the detailed vulnerability assessments, we have also produced shorter handouts summarizing tree species information for dozens of cities around the country.