Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Internship

Warner College of Natural Resources

Forest and Rangeland Stewardship




Primary Topic:

Natural Resources and Sustainability

Other Topics:

Emergency Planning and Resources

Lead Mentor:  

Courtney Peterson

Research Associate III

Internship Overview:

Climate change necessitates collaboration and an understanding of how foresters can begin to adapt management to meet the needs of a climatically-altered future. The Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) Network seeks to understand what climate adaptive management looks like in different forest types by bringing local experts, scientists and land managers together to develop experimental forest management approaches for specific forests, and then continues to assess the outcomes of these different treatments. The ASCC framework develops three experimental treatments centered on resistance, resilience and transition, with goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria developed as part of a collaborative workshop process. The ASCC Network consists of 14 sites located throughout the U.S. and Canada, three of which are located in Colorado forest ecosystems spanning several elevation gradients.

While partner engagement is high within individual projects, engaging broader audiences surrounding climate adaptation in forest management is more difficult. This internship position will help produce an outreach and engagement plan, which includes easily disseminated outreach materials that summarize ASCC forest management treatments, with special attention to differentiating resistance, resilience and transition adaptation approaches and climate-adaptive forest management actions.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

Our student intern will work closely with mentors, ASCC Network personnel, and members of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to produce engaging communication and education tools for the ASCC project sites. Outreach materials will highlight climate change challenges and opportunities, treatment development and design, and the specific adaptation actions chosen for each forest type. Outreach products will be used by partners to increase awareness and understanding of climate adaptive forest management for different forest ecosystem types and aid in maintaining transparency and communication surrounding the ASCC process for stakeholders and natural resource professionals.

The overarching goals of this internship position are to:
• Assess and summarize applied research related to climate change adaptation and forest management in Colorado;
• Provide a bridge between scientists/practitioners/land managers and diverse audiences interested in climate-adaptive forest management strategies;
• Develop communications plans for both foresters, silviculturists, and scientists within the ASCC Network and external audiences including foresters in the natural resources field interested in learning more about climate-adaptive forest management demonstrations; and
• Effectively communicate lessons learned from the ASCC Network sites with diverse audiences interested in applying climate adaptation actions in on-the-ground management.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

This internship position will be providing outreach and education to foresters, silviculturists, and scientists internal to the ASCC Network through the development of a communications plan. Key materials will also be developed for foresters in the natural resources field interested in learning more about climate-adaptive forest management demonstrations (e.g. flyers, the ASCC website, key presentations). Finally, we will be addressing the USFS Climate Action Plan goal of increasing climate literacy through climate change adaptation 101 outreach materials aimed at a private landowner audience, as well as the natural resource professional providers working with those landowners.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

Through participation in this internship position, the selected student will:
● Gain considerable understanding in the world of climate adaptive silviculture, from the use of silvicultural and ecological terminology, to an understanding of how climate change will impact different forest-types;
● Receive first-hand experience in working collaboratively across multiple organizations to meet common goals of the ASCC Network;
● Gain experience with assessing and summarizing applied research related to climate change in Colorado;
● Gain experience in effective communication, especially of scientific insight, to provide a bridge between scientists/practitioners/land managers and diverse audiences; and
● Incorporate climate communication into on-the-ground community work.
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