Hiawatha National Forest: East Red Pine 3 Project

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Planning

Hiawatha National Forest staff completed the adaptation workbook and incorporated climate change information into the project’s Environmental Assessment. 

The Hiawatha National Forest manages a diverse array of forest types across Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. Many red pine plantations were established across the forest from the 1930s to the 1960s. East Red Pine 3 Project activities include commercial thinning of about 4,000 acres of red pine, planting white pine on about 1,200 acres, and conducting prescribed burns on about 500 acres. More information about the project is available on the Hiawatha NF website.

Contact: Stephen Handler

 

Project Location and Goals

The East Red Pine 3 Project will occur throughout the east side of the Hiawatha National Forest, on the Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace Ranger Districts. In Management Areas (MAs) prioritized for timber production, these stands are being managed for a diversity of wood products.  In certain MAs, goals also include increasing stand diversity, reducing wildfire hazards, and encouraging a more natural appearance. 

 

Climate Change and the Hiawatha National Forest

Staff from the Hiawatha National Forest used the Adaptation Workbook from Forest Adaptation Resources to evaluate the potential climate change impacts for the East Red Pine 3 project in particular. Potential climate change impacts that are of major interest include:

  • Wildfire risk is anticipated to increase over time under climate change, due to longer growing seasons, warmer temperatures, and potential moisture stress in summer months. This is particularly concerning for the East Red Pine 3 project because many red pine stands are adjacent to jack pine, which can carry crown fires. Many fuel breaks in these stands have not been maintained for a number of years.
  • Red pine is generally projected to decline across a range of future climate scenarios. Sandy sites in this project area may be at higher risk of decline, because they may be more exposed to moisture stress. With no action, these stands will continue to become more susceptible to pests, diseases, and other stressors. 
  • Species such as red maple, red oak, and white pine are projected to increase across a range of future climate scenarios. This supports the project goal of planting white pine, and also supports the idea of favoring these species where possible to improve within-stand diversity.

Adaptation Actions

Staff on the Hiawatha National Forest were able to identify several items that were already part of the East Red Pine 3 proposed action that also have important adaptation benefits. Examples include:

 

Project Outcomes

Hiawatha National Forest staff  completed the Adaptation Workbook activity in spring 2014 and used this information to incorporate climate change considerations into the effects analysis of the project. The Environmental Assessment was released in July 2015, and a final decision for the project is expected in fall 2015. More information is available on the Hiawatha National Forest East Red Pine 3 project page.

 

Last updated: 8/6/2015