Date of this Version
Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-017-2070-5. This article is part of a Special Issue on ‘Vulnerability Assessment of US Agriculture and Forests developed by the USDA Climate Hubs’ edited by Jerry L. Hatfield, Rachel Steele, Beatrice van Horne, and William Gould.
Native and agricultural forests in the Northern Plains provide ecosystem services that benefit human society—diversified agricultural systems, forest-based products, and rural vitality. The impacts of recent trends in temperature and disturbances are impairing the delivery of these services. Climate change projections identify future stressors of greater impact, placing at risk crops, soils, livestock, biodiversity, and agricultural and forest-based livelihoods. While these native and agricultural forests are also a viable option for providing mitigation and adaptation services to the Northern Plains, they themselves must be managed in terms of climate change risks. Because agricultural forests are planted systems, the primary approaches for reducing risks are through design, plant selection and management. For native forests, management, natural disturbances, and collaboration of multiple ownerships will be needed to address key risks.