Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Anthony W. D'Amato

Second Advisor

Rachel E. Schattman


This project examines how foresters in a diversity of professional contexts perceive and respond to global change in the northeastern United States, with the goal of supporting foresters in broadening and deepening their use of climate adaptive strategies. Based on qualitative analysis of 32 in-depth semi-structured interviews with urban and rural foresters (n = 15 and n = 17, respectively) across New England and New York, a summary is presented of the i) important environmental drivers of adaptation; ii) commonly employed adaptive practices; iii) significant barriers to adaptation; and iv) approaches to working through named barriers. According to the motivations, goals and outcomes of the adaptive practices, it is suggested that foresters in the region are more commonly utilizing tactics associated with minimizing impacts of changing conditions (resistance strategies) or increasing representation of forest attributes that allow for recovery from climate impacts (resilience strategies) over more transformative approaches that shift forest conditions towards those potentially adapted to future change (transition strategies). Opportunities are highlighted to address significant barriers and increase the use of all three strategies. In particular, an analysis is presented of the approaches that different foresters use to address the important social barrier of public opposition. It is proposed that the social capital between foresters and the public is a key factor in the successful implementation of adaptive management, and global change calls for a greater investment in trust, norms, and networks from foresters and key stakeholders than has previously existed in the Northeast.



Number of Pages

98 p.