Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.0 MB byte)

Title: A framework for adapting urban forests to climate change

Author: Brandt, Leslie; Derby Lewis, Abigail; Fahey, Robert; Scott, Lydia; Darling, Lindsay; Swanston, Chris;

Date: 2016

Source: Environmental Science & Policy

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Planting urban trees and expanding urban forest canopy cover are often considered key strategies for reducing climate change impacts in urban areas. However, urban trees and forests can also be vulnerable to climate change through shifts in tree habitat suitability, changes in pests and diseases, and changes in extreme weather events. We developed a three-step framework for urban forest vulnerability assessment and adaptation that scales from regional assessment to local on-the-ground action. We piloted this framework in the Chicago region in 10 locations representing an urban-exurban gradient across a range of socioeconomic capacities. The majority of trees across a seven-county region had low to moderate vulnerability, but many of the least vulnerable species were nonnative invasive species. Urban forests in the 10 pilot locations ranged in vulnerability largely due to differences in economic and organizational adaptive capacity. Adaptation actions selected in these locations tended to focus on increased biodiversity and restoration of natural disturbance regimes. However, adaptation actions in more developed sites also included incorporating new species or cultivars. Lessons learned from the pilot area can be used to inform future efforts in other urban areas.

Keywords: Vulnerability, Climate change, Adaptive capacity, Urban forest, Inventory, Chicago

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Brandt, Leslie; Derby Lewis, Abigail; Fahey, Robert; Scott, Lydia; Darling, Lindsay; Swanston, Chris 2016. A framework for adapting urban forests to climate change. Environmental Science & Policy: 10 pages.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.