Northeast CASC-funded researchers review adaptive management strategies in forest ecosystems.
Assessing Adaptive Forest Management Strategies for Future Forest Composition Under a Changing Climate
Forests provide valuable ecosystem services (e.g. timber, nutrient cycling, air purification), but their ability to maintain these services under future climate conditions is uncertain. Yet, examining and evaluating adaptive forest management strategies to sustain these ecosystems can better inform forest managers’ plans and preparations for future forest conditions.
Northeast CASC supported researchers examined the effects of long-term adaptive forest management strategies on future forest composition and density in a southeastern Vermont forest under various climate scenarios over the next 200 years. They found that while successional dynamics will drive forest composition in the next 100 years, projected climate change will have a greater influence on forest composition and density over the next 200 years. These changes also suggest that sugar maples and American beech could remain dominant in the study area while seeing a reduction in Eastern hemlock and red spruce.
These findings indicate that climate is expected to be an important driver of long-term forest compositional and biomass conditions in the northeastern U.S., highlighting both challenges and opportunities forest managers may consider to sustain ecosystem services in the region.
This work stems from the CASC funded project, "Exploring the Potential for Adaptive Tree Plantings to Restore and Sustain Forest Habitats Across the Upper Lake States."