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Climate Adaptation Planning

Annotated resources related to planning for climate adaptation and resiliency at an arboretum, describing climate adaptation organizations, workbooks, toolkits, reports, and data portals by how and what they can be used for and their target users. To contribute a resource to the Climate Adaptation database, please contact the ArbNet Coordinator at
Top Ten
This section contains a list of the Top Ten Resources highlighted, in order of presentation, during the 2023 American Public Gardens Association conference session entitled "Climate Ready Gardens: Leading Adaptation in Collections and Communities." These resources have been curated through a partnership with UBC Botanical Garden, UC - Davis Arboretum & Public Garden, American Public Gardens Association, and The Morton Arboretum. For full descriptions of each item, see the detailed list of resources below this section.
  1. Example: Melbourne Gardens / Royal Botanic Garden Victoria (Australia) Landscape Succession Strategy
  2. Organization: Climate Change Alliance of Botanic Gardens (CCABG)
  3. Tool: Climate Assessment Tool (CCABG and Botanic Gardens Conservation International)
  4. Tool: Landscape Succession Toolkit (CCABG)
  5. Tool: Climate Change Adaptation Workbook - Climate Change Response Framework (USDA Climate Hubs; USDA Forest Service; Northern Institute of Applied Science; American Forests)
  6. Tool: Menus of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches (Northern Institute of Applied Science)
  7. Example: UC - Davis Arboretum & Public Garden Living Landscape Adaptation Plan
  8. Tool: Disaster Readiness Initiative (American Public Gardens Association)
  9. Tool: Plant Collections Network (American Public Gardens Association)
  10. Example: The Arnold Arboretum Long-Range Collections Planning
  • Climate Change Alliance of Botanic Gardens (CCABG): brings together botanic organizations and friends to take action to protect and enable adaptation of botanic landscapes in a changing climate.
  • USDA Climate Hubs: The Climate Hubs and their partners support USDA’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan connecting science and practice through place-based resources.
  • Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS): develops synthesis products, fosters communication, pursues applied science, and provides technical assistance for climate adaptation and carbon management. Provides many tools for assessing impacts of climate change and how to adapt to it.
Workbooks and Toolkits
  • Climate Change Adaptation Workbook - Climate Change Response Framework (USDA Climate Hubs; USDA Forest Service; NIACS; American Forests)
    A structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The process is completely flexible to accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems and land uses, management goals, and project sizes. Useful adaptation menus have been generated for a variety of landscape types.
    --Who it’s for: A diverse range of people working in forestry, natural resources, and agriculture, including biologists, foresters, planners, soil conservationists, and consultants. The Workbook is designed primarily for professionals, but motivated landowners will also be able to use it. People with clear management goals and knowledge about their local ecosystems can use the Workbook, whether they are making management decisions for individual parcels or across a broad landscape.
  • Landscape Succession Toolkit (CCABG)
    Offers botanic gardens and arboreta a framework by which to adapt to the climate crisis, and transition their living landscapes and plant collections to ones that will continue to thrive in the future climate. Contained within are the many benefits of landscape adaptation and succession, how to build your knowledge and understanding of climate, the practical applications of adaptive management, and guidance on how you might structure and draft your own strategy or planning document.
    Who it’s for: Botanic gardens and arboreta seeking strategies and actions for developing site-specific landscape adaptation plans. This will help in managing the transition of a cultivated landscape to one that is dominated by plants more likely to be resilient under the projected climate for that landscape, while maintaining high botanic values and the desired landscape character. This toolkit is also relevant to parks and broader landscape management and can be used by all to support action and change.
  • Climate Adaptation & Risk Management Attribute Workbook (Part of the American Public Gardens Association’s Sustainability Index)
    Focuses on strategies for adapting to rapidly changing ecosystems and reducing the impacts upon people, valuable infrastructure, and plant collections, including resilience and disaster planning. This document lists the goals and key performance indicators that have been identified as standards for gardens to better address climate adaptation and risk management in their policy and practice. 
    --Who it’s for: Gardens looking to prioritize climate adaptation action items to safeguard plant collections and people from hazards in a way that makes sense for their own specific needs. This toolkit is meant to guide gardens in anticipating, adapting, and flourishing in the face of climate change.
    --Example using this workbook: The Arnold Arboretum (USA)
Additional Literature & Tools
  • USDA Forest Service general technical review that provides a collection of resources designed to help forest managers incorporate climate change considerations into management and devise adaptation tactics. Developed as part of the Climate Change Response Framework.
  • eBook that introduces climate change and its impacts on plant collections, agriculture, and the conservation of plant genetic resources. It also includes specific information about breeding strategies to adapt crops to changing climate conditions.
  • Climate Assessment Tool (CCABG and Botanic Gardens Conservation International)
    A tree species selection tool for your garden / location under different climate change scenarios.
    --Example using this tool: The Trees of the Pisa Botanic Garden (Italy) evaluated their garden under different climate change scenarios and documented the process in this paper.
  • Disaster Readiness Training (American Public Gardens Association)
    A training resource to help gardens plan and prepare for disasters, including weather-related emergencies.
Climate Change Data Portals & Reports
  • Climate Change Risk & Resilience Portal (ClimRR) (Argonne National Laboratory, USA)
    Dynamic Downscaling (WRF); 12 km gridded resolution (sub-county);  3 GCMs; mid- and end-of-century. Generates reports for temperature, precipitation, wind, and community resilience.
  • Climate Data Explorer (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
    Statistical downscaling (LOCA algorithm); county-scale summaries; continuous time series; access to download summary figures, historical/projection data as downloads.
  • IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
    Much coarser-scale analyses, but has worldwide data and truly latest results (CMIP6).
  • IPCC 6th Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
    Report from the Panel's 58th Session held in Interlaken, Switzerland in 2023 covering current status and trends, long-term climate and development futures,  and near-term responses in a changing climate.
  • Climate Toolbox (University of California, Merced and partners)
    This site has a series of US focused tools, including a map of future USDA Cold Hardiness Zones and a Future Climate Dashboard that are useful for assessing the growing conditions for plant collections.
  • Future Urban Climates (University of Maryland)
    This tool identifies contemporary climate analogs for late 21st century climate projections. You can see what the climate in your city will feel like in 60 years.
  • Climate Risk Viewer (USDA Forest Service)
    Climate exposure and vulnerability information in the Climate Risk Viewer can help illustrate climate trends and their effects on forest and other ecosystem resources, the current condition of these resources, and future projected climate changes and their effects. (Go to “Explore the Data” to see the interactive map with climate and vulnerability layers).