Northwest Wildlife & Climate Change Resilience | Cascade Forest Conservancy

Climate Resilience

Our changing climate is creating new challenges and posing new threats to the communities and species in southern Washington’s Cascades. In the coming years, scientists predict our region will experience more frequent and intense droughts and floods, wildfires, and insect outbreaks, among other harmful effects to aquatic and terrestrial habitats and ecosystems.

CFC is working strategically both to slow climate change and to build climate resilience where we can now to mitigate the harmful effects that are coming later.

Trees transform sunlight and air into wood and layers of detritus (the complex ecosystems that build up on forest floors) which capture and safely store carbon. Behind transportation, deforestation is the leading contributor to carbon in the atmosphere. Research shows that young forests and the tree plantations that too often replace cut areas are not nearly as effective as capturing and storing carbon as healthy natural stands (not to mention that healthy old-growth forests provide important refuges to many species negatively impacted by coming shifts in their environment).

To slow global climate change, we are working to protect mature and old-growth forests to ensure that timber sales are informed by and account for current climate science.   

We strategically prioritize projects that will help mitigate the negative effects of climate change here in Washington’s South Cascades. Reintroducing species like beaver and replanting riparian areas will help improve aquatic environments and cool waters to protect sensitive species of fish and other aquatic species.

In 2017, we published the Wildlife and Climate Resilience Guidebook, which outlines strategies for improving resilience and helping ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change. Working with local scientists and partners, we aimed to identify priority restoration and conservation efforts that will improve the resilience of species and helping ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change. The strategies and recommendations sections of the guidebook include information for on-the-ground restoration projects, policy initiatives, monitoring priorities, and collaborative partnerships. Our intent is to work with communities and partners to more effectively protect, restore, and maintain healthy ecosystems in the heart of the Cascades.

See below for links to chapters and maps of the guidebook or click HERE to download the full document.


Aquatic Ecosystems

Forest Ecosystems and Connectivity

Alpine and Meadow Ecosystems

Below are maps and project highlights from our climate guidebook. These maps and images can also be found in the chapters outlined above.

Connectivity Map
Road Restoration Priorities – Part I: Roads and Habitat Reserves
Road Restoration Priorities – Part II: Roads and Wildlife Corridors
Aquatic Restoration Map – South Zone
Road Restoration Priorities – Part III: Overall Road Impacts