Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: Aspen Stands on the Park Falls District


National Forest staff modified silvicultural prescriptions for two aspen stands, and harvest activities occured in 2014 and 2015.

Chequamegon-Nicolet Staff take notes about how an aspen stand may be vulnerable to climate change

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, like much of northern Wisconsin and the Northwoods, contains a large amount of aspen forest. This boreal forest type, which has substantial ecological and economic importance to the region, may be especially vulnerable to a changing climate.

This adaptation project evaluated the potential effects of a changing climate on two aspen stands, which led to adjustments to the silvicultural prescriptions. These changes are intended to help these stands adapt to anticipated changes, as well as provide a real-world example of how forest management can enhance adaptation to climate change.

Contact: Maria Janowiak

Right: Chequamegon-Nicolet natural resource managers consider how an aspen stand may be vulnerable to climate change.

Project Location and Partners

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covers more than 1.5 million acres of Wisconsin’s Northwoods and has been a key partner in the Climate Change Response Framework since its inception. The adaptation work described here is just one of several activities underway on the Forest to show the wide variety of ways in which climate change considerations can be incorporated into sustainable forest and natural resource management activities. Learn more about  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest's actions to respond to a changing climate.

Climate Change and Aspen

A team of natural resource managers and climate change specialists from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science used the Adaptation Workbook from Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on the two aspen stands and suggest a variety of actions that could enhance forest resilience to climate change under a wide range of future conditions. 

Project Outcomes

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest will continue to consider how a changing climate may affect natural resources in this area and elsewhere on the forest. 

  • The silvicultural prescriptions for the two aspen stands were revisited, and changes were made to the prescriptions to reduce risks to these stands from climate change. 
  • A set of monitoring metrics were identified that can help evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation actions.
  • Natural resource professionals from the Chequamegon-Nicolet provided feedback that helped to improve adaptation resources and identify land manager needs for additional scientific information, adaptation resources, or communication efforts.
  • The Chequamegon-Nicolet will continue to work with the Shared Landscapes Initiative and others to communicate the outcomes and lessons from this project to a wide variety of land owners, resource managers, and others.

Chequamegon-Nicolet natural resource managers consider how an aspen stand may be vulnerable to climate change.Current Project Status

The silvicultural prescriptions for two stands have incorporated climate change considerations and stands are marked for timber harvest. One stand was harvested in summer 2014 and the other was harvested in winter 2014-15.

Last updated:  8/6/2015.