CNMI Climate Forum

What are the Climate Forums?

CNMI Extension Climate Forum Report

November 2-3, 2017
Fiesta Resort and Spa, Hibiscus Hall, Saipan
by Patricia Fifita and Clay Trauernicht

People Participated at the CNMI Climate Forum
0 +

Given the current impacts of climate change in CNMI and the relative uncertainty of what is come, the CNMI Extension Climate Forum was designed and strategically developed to engage farmers and fishers, natural resource managers, environmental agencies and Cooperative Research and Extension Education Services (CREES) at the Northern Marianas College in a critical dialog around the sustainability of agricultural production and livelihoods, food security and locally based climate adaptation efforts in CNMI under a changing climate.

Climate change poses significant challenges to food production, natural resources management, and public health. Initiatives like ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture” (e.g., FAO, UNDP) and the growing field of ‘Climate Services’ are emerging globally to provide stakeholders (producers, managers, communities) with better climate-related information and solutions to cope with increasing climate variability. The long-term relationships and diverse professional networks cultivated by Cooperative Extension faculty places them in a unique and critical position to help clients and stakeholders sustain and improve food security, ecosystem services, and local health and livelihoods in the face of climate change. The intent of the CNMI Extension Climate Forum was to engage Cooperative Extension faculty, natural resource managers, agriculturalists and fishers in critical dialogue about the impacts of climate change on agriculture and natural resources in CNMI and the potential opportunities to integrate climate adaptation and mitigation into extension programming. The two-day event was in response to capacity building needs identified by Hawaiʻi and Pacific Island participants at the SW Extension Climate Change Conference held December 2016 in Tucson, Arizona funded by a USDA-NIFA grant and the USDA Climate Hubs.

The central aims of the forum were to:

  1. Develop foundational knowledge of regional climate change science
  2. Identify locally relevant strategies for climate adaptation and communication
  3. Incorporate climate-related information and tools into CES programs
If you are interested in attending future Climate Forums in American Samoa, CNMI (Northern Marianas), Guam, Hawai’i or FSM, please contact Clay Trauernicht ([email protected]) or Patricia Fifita ([email protected]).
The Extension really helped me a lot because...
John Doe
Extension Agent
I would recommend attending the Climate Forums because...
John Doe

Climate-Related Impacts and Concerns

Video: Climate and Weather of the CNMI

(39:07) In this video, Chip Guard, Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the Weather Forecast Office in Guam, talks about the climate and weather of the CNMI.

Clay Trauernicht

Video: Carbon, Climate Change, and Agriculture

(53:46) In this video, Clay Trauernicht, Assistant Specialist in Wildland Fire with the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service explains carbon, climate change, and the effects on agriculture.

Video: Soil Health and Cover Crops

(38:26) In this video, Jason Uyeda, Assistant Extension Agent with the University of Hawaii College of Agriculture and Human Resource (CTAHR), talks about the importance of soil health and his research on cover crops trials.

Video: Vulnerability and Resilience in the Pacific Islands

(47:50) In this video, Patricia Fifita, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaii, presents the vulnerability and resilience in the Pacific Islands within the context of a changing climate.

Video: Climate Change and the CNMI

(46:07) In this video, Robbie Greene, NOAA's Coral Reef Management Liaison, CNMI, talks about Climate Change and CNMI, what's in store and how do we address it?

CNMI Forum Panel Discussion

Video: Panel Discussion

(51:38) In this video, a panel discusses their views about climate change and CNMI.

Current Climate-Related Strategies and Practices in CREES Extension

Forum participants shared some of the ways in which their existing programs are currently contributing to climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • Education and public outreach.
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Cover crops and vetiver grass for erosion control.
  • Composting
  • Natural resource management courses and internships.
  • Educate community, support action being taken, beach cleanups in which students or community are welcome to participate in.
  • Aquaponic, hydroponic, aquaculture processes.
  • Pesticide use safety trainings, certifications, permitting and outreach.
  • Beach and environmental cleanups, watershed management, and outreach.

Opportunities for Extension to Contribute to Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Forum participants shared some of the ways in which existing CREES programs could contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation.

  • Share practices which producers can utilize and adapt to.
  • Introduce crops that are not only profitable but adaptive to climate.
  • Reinforce efforts on public awareness, reforestation of shoreline, reduction of marine debris to keep coral safe.
  • Plant mangrove along shoreline to prevent erosion.
  • Workshop training
  • Share knowledge of high tunnel, hydroponic and aquaculture systems.
  • Expand outreach
  • Go green, conserve, produce less waste.
  • Increase amount of public informative presentations, school system presentation, increase educating farming communities.
  • Pesticide outreach to more parts of the community, youth, and private farmers.
  • Plant more trees and reduce carbon footprint.

Moving Forward: Suggested Actions

Forum participants identified the following top five suggested actions (out of a list of 10) as potential helpful actions moving forward. Listed below, these include:

  • Share lessons learned about progress, setbacks, and approaches for reaching various audience groups
  • Produce Extension-relevant climate change videos
  • Share field trip, hands-on activity, or other teaching methods from other states/regions
  • Sponsor climate change related trainings for program areas (e.g., youth, water, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc.)
  • Produce climate-related written resources for Extension (e.g., fact sheets, technical guides)


Read the CNMI Extension Climate Forum for the full report.

Read the Agenda Booklet for the CNMI Forum.

For resources specific to climate in CNMI, visit the CNMI Climate Resources Page.