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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

National Nature Assessment

The challenges of climate change and nature loss are interconnected. Yet, the significance of nature in recent patterns of intensifying floods, heat stress, and wildfire is often overlooked. More frequent and extreme floods are the result of climate change and the extensive loss of wetlands that once acted as buffers, reducing some flood impacts. More intense heat waves stem from climate change and the loss of forests’ cooling canopies in cities and around farms. These interacting aspects of global change need to be understood and confronted together.

To better understand the full picture of what is happening with nature, USGCRP is undertaking a National Nature Assessment, which will take stock of U.S. lands, waters, wildlife and the benefits they provide to our economy, health, climate, environmental justice, and national security. The Assessment will also look ahead at how nature might change in the future, and what those changes may mean for our economy and our lives.

The First National Nature Assessment is in the early stages of development and is anticipated to be released in 2026. As with other USGCRP assessments, the National Nature Assessment will draw on expertise from the Federal Government, Indigenous communities, academia, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. The Assessment team will hold an array of public engagement opportunities to ensure the report answers questions that are important to every American’s life, and is informed by the best available evidence.

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First National Nature Assessment Participant Roles and Responsibilities

  • A Federal Steering Committee is responsible for the development, production, and content of the assessment as well as high-level scoping to ensure coherence, and relevance. The Federal Steering Committee (with concurrence from the Subcommittee on Global Change Research) selects Federal Coordinating Leads and Lead Authors; based on a number of criteria, including expertise and experience with the relevant products.

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Authors work across chapters to ensure consistency throughout the report and adherence to development guidance. Coordinating Lead Authors are also the points of contact to the Chapter Leads.

  • Chapter Leads are selected from a pool generated in part by a public nominations process. In consultation with Federal Coordinating Lead Authors, Chapter Leads organize, direct, and lead authorship of individual chapters. Chapter Author teams are established by the Chapter Leads with suggestions from the Federal Coordinating Lead Authors and the Federal Steering Committee. Chapters are submitted to the corresponding Federal Coordinating Lead Author, and ultimately transmitted to the Federal Steering Committee as the individual input of the Chapter Leads.

  • Chapter Authors are selected by the Chapter Leads in consultation with the Federal Coordinating Lead Author and Federal Steering Committee, based in part on nominations via the public call. They are responsible for developing chapter content. Chapter author teams work with Chapter Leads to develop draft chapters and edit those materials in response to comments received during the multiple rounds of review.

  • Technical Contributors provide limited, requested inputs into chapter development. They are selected on an as-needed basis, for specific needs identified by the author team. Technical Contributors may be selected from the pool of publicly nominated authors.

  • Review Editors are selected by the Federal Steering Committee from a pool of experts, including those generated through a public nomination process. Their role is to ensure that authors respond adequately and provide sufficient justification for their responses to all comments received during the public and National Academies review periods.

Assessment Methods

  • Chapter Lead: Katie Arkema, Senior Earth Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and University of Washington

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Jessica Welch, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (on behalf of NASA Earth Science Division)

Bright Spots in America’s Nature

  • Chapter Lead: Timon McPhearson, Professor and Director, Urban Systems Lab, The New School

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Emmett Duffy, Chief Scientist, Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and MarineGEO Program, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Equity and Nature

  • Chapter Lead: Chris Schell, Assistant Professor, University of California Berkeley

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Brenda Rashleigh, Assistant Center Director for Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Nature and America’s Cultural Heritage 

  • Chapter Lead: Rachelle Gould, Associate Professor, University of Vermont

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Nicole Herman-Mercer, Research Social Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

Nature and America’s Economy  

  • Chapter Lead: Rajat Panwar, Associate Professor, Oregon State University

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Inoussa Boubacar, Research Economist, USDA Forest Service / Forest Products Laboratory

Nature and Climate Change

  • Chapter Lead: Chris Field, Director, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Carolyn Balk, Section Chief, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Nature and Human Health and Well-Being 

  • Chapter Lead: Howard Frumkin, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington; Senior Vice President, Trust for Public Land

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Monika Derrien, Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Nature and the Safety & Security of the U.S.  

  • Chapter Lead: Todd Bridges, Professor of Practice, Resilient and Sustainable Systems, College of Engineering, University of Georgia

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Safra Altman, Research Ecologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center

Opportunities for America’s Future

  • Chapter Lead: Patricia Soranno, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Chris Kelble, Director, Ocean Chemistry & Ecosystems Division, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Status, Trends, and Future Projections of Nature 

  • Chapter Lead: Gillian Bowser, Associate Professor, Colorado State University

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Gabrielle Canonico, Manager, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Marine Life Program and U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network, NOAA/U.S. IOOS

Status, Trends, and Future Projections of the Drivers of Change of Nature  

  • Chapter Lead: Danielle Ignace, Assistant Professor, The University of British Columbia

  • Federal Coordinating Lead Author: Maureen Kearney, Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Environmental Biology

Help Shape the First National Nature Assessment

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is seeking technical inputs for the First National Nature Assessment (NNA1). This is a unique opportunity for scientists and experts across the country to shape the first U.S. assessment of how nature is changing and how it matters to our lives.

Recent Opportunities

Public Collaboration Sessions

These sessions, held in May 2023, provided a brief overview of the scope of NNA1 and an opportunity to give direct input to the open request for information on framing the assessment.

  • National Nature Assessment Public Listening Session – Outdoor Recreation 
    May 11th, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Public Listening Session – Marine Perspectives 
    May 16th, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Public Listening Session – Coastal Perspectives 
    May 18th, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Public Listening Session – Livestock and Range Perspectives 
    May 23rd, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Public Listening Session – Cropland Agriculture Perspectives 
    May 25th, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Listening Session – Forests and Forestry 
    May 30th, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  • National Nature Assessment Listening Session 
    May 31st, 2023 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm ET

  1. Summer 2022

    Federal Steering Committee established

  2. Fall 2022

    Public call for comment on framing of the assessment

  3. Summer 2023

    Public call for comment on draft prospectus

  4. Fall 2023

    Public call for nominations for Chapter Leads, Chapter Authors, and Technical Contributors; public call for scientific/technical inputs

  5. Spring 2024

    Federal Coordinating Lead Authors, Chapter Leads, and Chapter Authors selected; First All-Author Meeting

  6. Summer 2024

    Interagency review of chapter outlines, Public call for comments on the chapter outlines

  7. Fall/Winter 2024

    Public engagement

  8. Early 2025

    Development of first draft

  9. Spring 2025

    Interagency review of first draft; public call for Review Editors

  10. Summer 2025

    Author revisions; Review Editors selected

  11. Fall 2025

    Public and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reviews of draft

  12. Early 2026

    Authors revise draft in response to reviews

  13. Summer 2026

    Final revisions and final agency review

  14. Fall 2026

    Final revisions

  15. Late 2026