Climate Forestry

Whether you spend time outside in your woods, or just enjoy the beauty of your trees and wildlife from your window, you likely love your woods and want to keep them healthy. Forests are always changing and adapting to new conditions. Some changes are as anticipated as the progression of green summer leaves to the bright red and gold of fall foliage, or annual return of brightly-colored migratory songbirds. Other changes in our woodlands are only visible when comparing differences across many years or decades.

Table of Contents

Responding to Climate Change

Do you wonder about the changing conditions in your woods? Many people are asking more questions about how a changing climate is effecting forests and what actions can be taken to ensure forests stay healthy no matter what the future holds.   

There are two ways that you can help respond to climate change in your woods.  

AdaptFirst and foremost, you can consider the ways that climate change may affect your woods and work with a professional forester to ensure that the trees, wildlife, and other forest species can cope with changing conditions—these adaptation actions are outlined in Caring for your Woods - Adapting to Changing Conditions.  

Caring for your Woods - Adapting to Changing Conditions
Caring for your Woods - Adapting to Changing Conditions

Mitigate In addition to ensuring forests are healthy and productive over the long term, you can also consider additional actions that increase the ability of forests to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere as a means to reduce the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Learn more in Caring for your Woods - Managing for Forest Carbon

Caring for your Woods - Managing for Forest Carbon
Caring for your Woods - Managing for Forest Carbon
forester guide
Managing Forests for Climate Change Forester Guide



man, woman and dog in the woods
Massachusetts DCR climate forestry program recognized by USFS as part of climate week

Partnerships help private landowners tackle effects of climate change

Additional Resources   for Responding to Climate Change

Carbon Markets

For large landowners there are opportunities to receive money for the carbon you grow and store in trees, called carbon offsets or carbon credits.  Companies buy carbon offsets to reduce their contribution to global warming: by paying another party to reduce carbon from a different source, companies “offset” carbon emissions from their own operations. This exchange lets companies count the carbon they’re paying to keep out of the atmosphere against their own emissions. Due to the complexity of enrolling in a carbon offset program, it makes the most financial sense for acreage greater than 3,000 acres, which may be one ownership or an aggregate of multiple ownerships.  In Massachusetts these larger ownership tend to be municipal lands but any ownership is eligible. Forest Carbon Market Solutions - a Guide for Municipalities, helps a landowner understand the benefits and trade offs of the carbon market, defines what makes a successful project, provides a sense of expectations and risk, and gives a list of next steps.

Landowners and foresters may want to know how much carbon their forest is storing and sequestering – whether they plan to explore forest carbon markets or they simply want to know as part of their management decision making.  The following link has a variety of no-cost tools to provide some options for determining forest carbon storage and sequestration: Forest Carbon Estimators and Calculators 

Additional Resources   for Carbon Markets

Annual Town Forest Conference: A focus on climate

Each year DCR works with a municipality to bring focus and attention to the community owned forests and all the benefits they provide.  Due to COVID, in 2021 a virtual conference was held which was open to all.  You may listen to the conference using the links below.

Topic:  Bird Habitat & Climate Adaptation in Your Community (5/26/21)

Topic:  The Role of Your Community Forest in Mitigating Climate Change (6/2/21)

Topic: Focus on Funding: Keeping Forests as Forests, Habitat and Climate Resiliency in Your Community (6/9/21)

Forester Training Spring 2023

Forester Training 23


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), in partnership with Mass Audubon, the New England Forestry Foundation, and Mass Woodlands Institute, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS), hosted a four-session Climate Forestry Stewardship Planning training intended for licensed foresters interested in providing Climate Forestry services.

Climate Forestry is a Massachusetts DCR program providing cost share assistance to landowners to hire a qualified consulting forester to conduct a climate-focused forest assessment on their land. Consulting foresters must attend a series of trainings to become certified to provide this service to landowners. 

Training Recordings

Climate Forestry Certification Process for Consulting Foresters

Climate Forestry Training Session 1 - 2/15/2023

Climate Forestry Training Session 2 - 2/22/2023 

Climate Forestry Training Session 3 - 3/01/2023

Climate Forestry Training Session 4 - 3/08/2023


Climate Change Communication and Landowners

Forester and Forest Stewardship Plan Writing Resources

Key Actions   for Forester Training Spring 2023

Additional Resources   for Forester Training Spring 2023

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