Okemo State Forest: Long-Range Management Planning

Yes
Planning

The Long-Range Management Plan is being revised and will include climate change considerations.

Okemo State Forest, 8,000 acres in the green mountains of Vermont just west of Ludlow Village, is in in the first stage of planning for an updated 20- year Long-Range Management Plan. This plan will incorporate information about the effects of climate change on local forests.

 

Contact: Maria Janowiak

 

Project Location and Partners

Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation manages Lands of The Agency of Natural Resources using a multi-disciplinary approach in planning and implementation. Staff from three divisions (Forest and Parks, Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Conservation) work together to manage Agency lands to meet multiple resource objectives and to protect key attributes and forest function. Promoting and practicing sustainable wood production, critical wildlife habitat, hunting and fishing, watershed function and dispersed recreation are some of the goals of state land management. Parcels are then managed based on the guidance of the 20-year Long-Range Management Plan, which examines forest, biodiversity and infrastructure condition and sets out a course of management based on the condition of the resource and the desired outcomes developed with public input.

Climate Change and Okemo State Forest

During a Forest Adaptation Planning and Practices training, managers considered numerous anticipated effects from climate change. A few impacts stood out as having the greatest potential to impact the Okemo State Forest, including

• Warmer temperatures

• Increased annual precipitation and more frequent precipitation and flooding

• Increases in insect pests and forest pathogens

• Declines in northern and boreal tree species

Adaptation Actions and Project Outcomes

Managers are currently working to prepare assessments of the management area as a first step to updating the Long-Range Management Plan. After these assessments are completed, management actions will be identified that help to meet management goals while also helping to adapt forests to changing conditions.

 

Current Project Status

Inventories are complete and include an interior songbird habitat assessment and recommendations prepared by Vermont Audubon to enhance habitats for some of the easts most at risk songbird species. The LRMP will be augmented to include an assessment of Forest Health and projected resilience to climate change. Management strategies will be developed, incorporated, and implemented to prepare forests for a changing environment in the context of active management and long term goals. Completion of the plan is expected in 2015.

Photos courtesy Tim Morton, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. 

Last updated: 4/9/2014