Adaptation and mitigationThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Forest ecosystems respond to natural climatic variability and human-caused climate change in ways that are adverse as well as beneficial to the biophysical environment and to society. Adaptation refers to responses or adjustments made—whether passive, reactive, or anticipatory—to climatic variability and change (Carter et al. 1994). Many adjustments occur whether humans intervene or not; for example, plants and animals shift to favorable habitats resulting in range expansion or contraction, as well as changes in gene frequencies for traits that enable persistence in warm climates. Here we assess strategies and tactics resource managers can use in the process of reducing forest vulnerability and increasing adaptation to changing climates (Peterson et al. 2011). Plans and activities range from shortterm, stop-gap measures, such as removing conifers that are progressively invading mountain meadows, to long-range, proactive commitments, such as fuels management to reduce the likelihood of severe wildfire or of beetle-mediated forest mortality.