Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Environmental Science and Policy


J. Timmons Roberts

Committee Members

Brent Sewall

Katherine I. Rahman


Current climate change poses a multitude of complex threats to the health of ecosystems throughout the United States. The US Forest Service has a responsibility to manage ecosystems to retain primary functions and provide vital services. In a time of rapid environmental change, the US Forest Service must take measures to effectively manage ecosystems, which will require revisions to current management structures. This paper (1) explores the threats to National Forest ecosystems posed by climate change; (2) outlines why current institutional management structures will not be adequate for effective resource management; (3) introduces tools, broadly adaptive management techniques as well as mechanisms to encourage collaboration and stakeholder engagement, which can be used to revise the current management structure; and (4) utilizes the tools to propose revisions to a National Forest Management Plan. Various case studies are used to highlight constraints on current management structures and to decipher where opportunities for achieving effective resource management can be found. Additionally, the special considerations for designated wilderness areas and climate change are introduced. The paper provides a framework for immediate action and durable policy creation on climate change by US Forest Service managers. The paper is in no way a panacea for effective ecosystem management in the midst of climate change, but rather designed to provide guidance on necessary initial management restructuring.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only