Climate Change Adaptation Toolbox - Cool Tools for a Hot Climate!

Preparing and planning for the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and natural resources presents a unique challenge to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), other natural resource organizations and Ontario communities.


The Climate Change Adaptation Toolbox can help! In response to these challenges, MNR’s Climate Change Office has developed an online Climate Change Adaptation Toolbox. This toolbox is designed to help you access tools and techniques to support vulnerability assessments and adaptation action.


To learn more about climate change adaptation, check out introductory information on our site:

You may also find useful tools, data and information on the Weather and Water Information Gateway (WWIG), part of Land Information Ontario (LIO). The Gateway provides an open, searchable database with more technical information and datasets that may assist in adaptation planning.


How can I use the Toolbox?


To help you find the resource you are looking for, you can sort through tool types (e.g. models, guides, data sets, assessments, case studies or interactive tools), themes (e.g. aquatic, terrestrial, general climate or community) and organizations (e.g. Ministry of Natural Resources) alphabetically. Simply click on the headings of the table to reorganize the tools according to the way you would like to explore the toolbox.


The toolbox provides...

  • Access to resources that support adaptation actions
  • Ontario specific adaptation tools and tools from other jurisdictions
  • Tools that can be applied at the provincial, regional and local/municipal scale

Some of the resources in the Toolbox are links to non-MNR websites that provide additional information about climate change adaptation in natural resource management. In these cases, you will leave the MNR domain and enter another page with more information.


If you discover any broken links, please report them by email to:

Cool Tools for a Hot Climate!

Name Organization Description Type Theme
A Practitioner’s Guide to Climate Change Adaptation in Ontario’s Ecosystems (2011) Ministry of Natural Resources This guide introduces a process for adaptation planning for ecosystems. For those wondering what to do to integrate climate change into their work, this guide provides a step-by-step logical process. The guide is designed for front-line practitioners and can be applied on whatever geography you work on. Guide General Climate
Climate Change Research Report Series (various publication dates) Ministry of Natural Resources Have a look at this state-of-the-science series from MNR's climate change program! Find practical information on impacts here in Ontario and in virtually every natural resource field. Guide All
Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities (2010) Natural Resources Canada This guide is for municipal staff and decision-makers to better understand the need for climate change adaptation and how to put adaptation measures in place. It includes references and municipal case studies. Guide General Climate
Climatic Atlas Environment Canada Environment Canada's climatic atlas is a five volume series of historic climate data (eg. temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation, etc.) portrayed visually on national maps. The archive provides over 400 maps of climate data! Data set General Climate
Circuitscape Project Circuitscape predicts patterns of movement, gene flow, and genetic differentiation among plant and animal populations, information that can be used to identify and prioritize important areas for activities such as connectivity conservation. Some expertise required. Interactive Tool Terrestrial
Boreal Forest Landscapes Dynamic Simulator - BFOLDS Ministry of Natural Resources This spatial model simulates forest fire disturbance patterns for Canadian boreal forests over large forest regions of many millions of hectares. Model Terrestrial
NatureServe Explorer NatureServe This database provides in-depth information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems. Users can easily find information on life history, conservation needs and distribution maps of more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities of Canada and the United States! Use this information as a baseline for your climate change vulnerability assessment or adaptation plan. Interactive Tool Terrestrial
Climate Adaptation Resource for Advisors (CLARA) (2010) United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) This guide assists business advisors and supports small and medium-sized enterprises in understanding and preparing for the impacts of climate change. Guide General Climate
Costing the Impacts of Climate Change (2011) United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) How much do the impacts of climate change cost the private and public sectors? This tool provides a method for calculating these costs and describes how to compare them to the costs of adaptation measures. Guidelines and case studies are available online to assist you. Assessment Community
Business Areas Climate Impacts Assessment Tool (BACLIAT) (2011) United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) The assessment is a series of online workshops that explore past and future business climate, identify adaptation options, respond to climate change impacts, and highlight business opportunities. Case Study Community
Adaptation Wizard please note that you must register with UKCIP to access this tool. It's simple and easy, and only takes a minute. United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) The Adaptation Wizard walks you through a 5-step process to assess an organization’s vulnerability to current climate and future climate change. The Wizard then identifies options to address an organization’s key climate risks and to develop and implement a climate change adaptation strategy. Interactive Tool General Climate
Adaptation Monitoring & Evaluation Toolkit (AdaptME) United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) The AdaptME Toolkit evaluates adaptation activities undertaken by organizations to determine what worked, what didn’t work, and how and why. Case Study General Climate
Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP) United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) This tool can be used by organizations to assess their exposure to weather and climate, and develop adaptation strategies. The process explores vulnerabilities and provides an excellent way to engage citizens. Interactive Tool General Climate
Ontario Tree Atlas Ministry of Natural Resources The Ontario Tree Atlas is an electronic resource for those interested in learning which trees are native to Ontario, and which species are native to their local area. Use this information as a baseline for your climate change vulnerability assessment or adaptation plan. Interactive Tool Terrestrial
Climate Change Mapping Tool Ministry of Natural Resources This accessible and user-friendly mapping tool illustrates what Ontario’s climate might be like in the future . Based on NRCan mapping tools, this tool allows you to narrow your range to Ontario, MNR Regions and MNR Districts to project temperature and precipitation patterns based on specific climate scenarios. Interactive Tool General Climate
Climate Change Ecoregions Mapping Tool Ministry of Natural Resources Be a climatologist! This sister mapping tool to the more general climate change mapping tool, focuses on Ontario's ecoregions. You can project climatic shifts in each of the 14 provincial ecoregions to the end of the century. Interactive Tool General Climate
Biodiversity Explorer Ministry of Natural Resources An source for information on over 15,000 plants and animals in Ontario, the Biodiversity Explorer presents a tool for querying records of biodiversity information. Use this information as a baseline for your climate change vulnerability assessment or adaptation plan. Interactive Tool Terrestrial
Adapting to Climate Change: A Risk Based Guide for Local Governments (2010)
PDF 157 Kb
Natural Resources Canada This guide presents a risk-based approach to adapting to climate change for both long-term planning and short-term responses. The guide illustrates how the risk management process can help users determine optimum solutions to complex issues. Guide Community
Climate Change Scenario Natural Resources Canada This national A climate change mapping tool allows you to create maps by selecting different scenarios that project national and provincial level temperature and precipitation patterns. Interactive Tool General Climate
Canadian Weather Energy and Engineering Datasets (CWEEDS) (various dates) Environment Canada This data set offers hourly climate conditions for 21 weather elements at specific locations across Ontario can be accessed in these datasets that began as early as 1953 and for most ended in 2005. Data set General Climate
Environment Canada's Data Explorer Environment Canada Environment Canada's Data Explorer offers all water information collected through the National Hydrometric Program. The data includes: daily and monthly mean flow, water level, sediment concentration useful for assessing water-related climate change vulnerability assessments. Data Set Aquatic
Adapting to Climate Change: Tools and Techniques for an Adaptive Approach to Managing for Climate Change (2011)
Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) This case study describes the process used to develop the Lake Simcoe watershed climate change adaptation strategy including the use of vulnerability assessments. Case Study Aquatic
Guide for Assessment of Hydrologic Effects of Climate Change in Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Adaptation planning benefits from information on future water supply in a changing climate. This guide outlines a method for conducting vulnerability assessments of the effects of climate change on water resources in Ontario. The website is also a great source for other water budget guides such as the Water Quantity Threats Ranking Scenarios Guide and lots of climate and water-related data sets! Guide Aquatic
Policy Delphi (2010) Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) Policy Delphi is a data-gathering technique that anonymously surveys targeted groups of individuals to find resolution with major policy issues. The Lake Simcoe Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment illustrates how this methodology is applied to identify and evaluate adaptation options. Guide Community
Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide for Municipal Climate Adaptation (1995 - 2008) Council for Local Environmental Initiatives: local governments for sustainability This easy-to-use guide to adaptation planning from ICLEI leads users through five milestones from building a team to monitoring the success of the implemented adaptations. The guide focuses on human and built infrastructure. Guide Community
Climate Change Planning Tools for First Nations Guidebooks (2006) Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) First Nation's communities can use these six guidebooks to walk through the process of planning for climate change in their community. Guide Community
Managing the Risks: A Guide for Arctic and Northern Communities (2010) Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) Arctic and Northern Communities can apply a 'step-by-step' risk management framework to identify the impacts and vulnerabilities of climate change in their local context. This online tool is accompanied by guidebooks, worksheets and case studies. Interactive Tool Community
Getting to Carbon Neutral: a Guide for Canadian Municipalities (2009)
PDF 777 Kb
Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Thinking about your carbon footprint? Here's one way that Canadian municipalities can work towards reducing their carbon footprint. Mitigation is an important part of of our action on climate change but is unique from Adaptation. This is one example; many other mitigation resources are available online. Guide Community
Canada’s First National Engineering Vulnerability Assessment of Public Infrastructure Report
PDF 540 Kb
Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) This guide focuses on climate change risk assessment into engineering design, development and management of existing and planned infrastructure. Guide Community
Climate Communication for Local Governments (2011)
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) - Local Governments for Sustainability Engaging people is difficult. This tool makes it easier for local governments to get people involved in the dialogue to find solutions for our climate and frame climate solutions, talk about climate impacts, explain climate science, and understand your audience's values and priorities. Guide Community
Climate Change Scenarios Network Canadian Climate Change Scenarios Network Construct maps of climate scenarios for your region! Access data and present it as scatterplots, timeseries, graphs and bioclimatic profiles. You can localize it as small an area as your postal code! Interactive Tool General Climate
Climate Change and Lifestyles Guidebook (2011)
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) - Local Governments for Sustainability Based on the premise that youth (25 years and younger!) make up half of the world's population and are major consumers of food, clothing, travel, gadgets, and communication devices, the United Nations has designed this guide to assist this generation with making personal choices to address the challenges of climate change. Learn more about ethical and cultural perspectives on climate change. Understand complex issues that are supported by facts, graphics, images, examples and web links. Choose to make a difference! Guide Community
Canada's Plant Hardiness Site Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Are you wondering what you can grow where? Look no further! Canada's plant hardiness index combines information about a variety of climatic conditions across the entire country to produce a single general map of what trees and shrubs grow best in your area. Take the plunge, find out what grows best near you! Interactive Tool Terrestrial
Vulnerability of Canada’s Tree Species to Climate Change and Management Options for Adaptation: An Overview for Policy Makers and Practitioners Canadian Council of Forest Ministers Over the next several decades, the climate in Canadian forests will shift northward effecting many tree species. But how do you determine which ones are most vulnerable? The guide Vulnerability of Canada’s Tree Species to Climate Change and Management Options for Adaptation can help identify which tree species are most vulnerable, while examining the management implications and options. Guide Terrestrial
Peel Climate Change Strategy (2011) Region of Peel, City of Brampton, Town of Caledon, City of Mississauga, Credit Valley Conservation, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Looking to get strategic with climate change? This case study can help! Peel Region's climate change strategy provides mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Case Study Community
Credit Valley Conservation Strategic Plan (2008) Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) Credit Valley Conservation's strategic climate change plan highlights pressures facing the Credit Valley Watershed and sets out a course and direction for collaborative action to address them. Case Study Community
Mississippi River Water Management Plan (2006) Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) Apply it to your watershed! The Mississippi River Water Management Plan provides detailed "how to" options for managing water flows and levels within the Mississippi River Watershed. Case Study Community
Making Watersheds More Resilient to Climate Change: A Response in the Grand River Watershed, Ontario Canada Grand River Conservation Authority This short but sweet case study offers some tried and true conservation practices such as enhancing and restoring wetlands and implementing riparian buffers, to prepare for climate change on a local level. Case Study Terrestrial
Northern Ontario Boreal Climate Change Adaptation Portfolio Ministry of Natural Resources This portfolio presents over 200 of adaptation options across a range of environmental themes synthesized from climate change scientific literature and other research. Great starting place for scoping potential adaptation actions! Many of the actions are transferrable to other landscapes. Guide All
The NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index NatureServe Determining which species are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change can be a challenging task. The NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index can help! Using the Index, you apply readily available information about a species’ natural history, distribution and landscape circumstances to predict whether it will likely suffer a range contraction, population reductions, or both during the coming years. Interactive Tool General Climate
Green Bylaws Toolkit for Conserving Sensitive Ecosystems and Green Infrastructure The Wetland Stewardship Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia, Environment Canada and the province of British Columbia Looking for practical tools for protecting "green infrastructure"? This Green Bylaws Toolkit can help! It provides techniques and case studies for the stewardship and protection of "natural green infrastructure", in other words, aquatic and terrestrial sensitive ecosystems, working landscapes, parks, greenways, and undeveloped areas. Guide All
Connecting Nature and People: A Guide to Designing and Planning Natural Heritage Systems (NHS) in Southern Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources This ""how-to"" guide provides a detailed description of the current approach used by many local organizations and agencies, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, for Natural Heritage Systems (NHS) design and planning projects. Guide Terrestrial
Water and Weather Information Gateway (WWIG) Ministry of Natural Resources The Water and Weather Information Gateway (WWIG), is a metadata management tool that provides an open, searchable database of technical information and datasets that may assist you in adaptation planning. Interactive Tool General Climate
Climate Change Adaptation: A priorities plan for Canada Climate Change Adaptation Project: INTACT Insurance and University of Waterloo Report designed to identify and operationalize practical and cost-effective adaptation solutions to impacts of climate change on Canada. Guide All
Regional Climate Modelling and Analysis over Ontario (RCMAO) Ministry of the Environment A summary of MOE supported projects on regional climate modelling and analysis, associated reports and data downloads. Data set General Climate
Preparing for Climate Change: An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in BC
PDF 5.6 Mb
West Coast Environmental Law An adaptation guide that identifies tools that local elected officials and staff can use to plan and act in ways that will make their communities more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. Guide Community



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