Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Plan

a bur oak savanna
Photo by Laura Anchor.

The Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Plan (2018) was developed to harness the various strengths within the Forest Preserves of Cook County to address the pressing environmental issues of our time. Climate change, pollution, invasive species, and habitat loss and fragmentation are threatening the health of our natural spaces, as well as global ecosystems, and the Forest Preserves is dedicated to implementing responsible practices to mitigate these environmental stressors. We are committed to ensuring that our native landscapes, home to a remarkable diversity of plant and animal life, continue to thrive for generations to come.

Illinois has experienced a 1°F increase in average annual temperature since the beginning of the 20th century. According to recent climate projections published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other authoritative scientific organizations, if global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, historically unprecedented warming is anticipated in the Midwest region in the next few decades. Along with a projected rise in annual temperatures, studies also project that the region likely will experience increased events of extreme precipitation during winter and spring, and intense summer droughts.

Since its inception over a hundred years ago, the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s mission has been to provide much needed natural respite from the pressures associated with living in the second most populous county in the nation and to advocate for the protection of nature. The Forest Preserves has stayed true to the core of its mission.

Our mission drives us to consider the impacts of climate change not just on our own lands, but also on the communities that we are a part of, and the planet.