FireWorks for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades - H15: Forest Communities and Climate Change
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
  • Ilana L. Abrahamson
    US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
Date Created: July 16, 2018

Cataloging Information

  • climate change
  • forest communities
  • tree distribution
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 56190


Lesson overview: In this activity, students assemble a graphical model of the forest communities on a mountainside in the northern Rocky Mountains/North Cascades region. They use the model to describe specific forest communities and to assess the potential for tree distributions to change in response to climate change. Then they read and take a stand on the use of assisted migration to conserve species.

Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding that species with similar needs may occur together, that forest communities occur in locations with specific environmental conditions, and that species distributions and community composition may change as climate conditions change.


  • Students can list tree species that are likely to occur together and comprise unique forest communities.
  • Students can predict some potential effects of climate change on the distributions of tree species.
  • Students can express their observations and opinions about assisted migration, a method that could be used to mitigate the effects of climate change on species.