Pokagon Band of Potawatomi: Dowagiac Tree Translocation

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Planning

Staff from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Department of Natural Resources used the Adaptation Workbook at a workshop in 2016, and they will continue to refine their ideas for implementation over the coming year. 

Staff from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi used the Adaptation Workbook at a workshop in 2016, and they will continue to refine their ideas for implementation over the coming year.

Project Area

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi are a located in southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana, being one band among the larger Potawatomi culture the historically spread across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and southern Michigan. The Pokagon resisted relocation pressure since the early 1800s to remain in their homeland, and now there are approximately 5,000 tribal members and a formal tribal government centered in Dowagiac, Michigan. The Pokagon own reservation lands scattered across 10 different counties, and this project considers potential actions on a few forested parcels.

Management Goals

Ash stand with different paint colors to indicate different years of EAB treatment.

For this project, Environmental Specialist Kyle Boone considered three separate tree species that are culturally important to the Pokagon Band, all of which occur in lowland forests on tribal property.  The tribe's goal is to restore and maintain paper birch, ash, and northern white-cedar. In recent years the Pokagon have taken an active role monitoring and combatting the infestation of emerald ash borer (EAB) through preventative injections of green, white, and black ash. The tribe is also trapping EAB to get population estimates and releasing parasitoid wasps as a biological control. They have released about 31,000 wasps through 2016.  For cedar restoration, they recently planted a 2-acre demonstration site with northern white-cedar. 

Climate Change Impacts

An adult emerald ash borer emerging from an ash tree.
Climate change has the potential to complicate restoration and management of these culturally important tree species. The most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Increases in non-native plant species, particularly in the understory of these forested parcels.
More damage from forest pests and pathogens. The Pokagon's forests have already been hard-hit by EAB and Dutch elm disease.
More drought stress will be challenging for these species, which all rely on moist soil conditions to persist in southern Michigan.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of the Pokagon Band, including:

Challenges

Projected temperature increases might be too much for northern species like cedar
An increase in drought or wildfire from climate change would be a large challenge for these forest stands

Opportunities

Warmer conditions may make it easier for blue ash and other southern tree species to establish in southern Michigan.
Disease-resistant American elm is projected to tolerate future climate conditions

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Area/TopicApproachTactics
Paper birch
9.5. Disfavor species that are distinctly maladapted.
9.7. Introduce species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Convert these stands to disease-resistant elm through planting.
Ash stands
9.7. Introduce species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Promote blue ash - not as susceptible to EAB, already present on the Pokagon reservation.
4.2. Prioritize and maintain sensitive or at-risk species or communities.
Treat existing ash stands for EAB through preventative injections.
Northern white-cedar
4.2. Prioritize and maintain sensitive or at-risk species or communities.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
Continue tending recent cedar planting.
2.3. Manage herbivory to promote regeneration of desired species.
Protect cedar seedlings with a deer exclosure.

Project Photos

Click to enlarge photos

Next Steps

The Pokagon DNR will investigate additional adaptation actions including acquiring blue ash and American elm seedling stock, and they will continue monitoring the effectiveness of current management actions to control EAB and establish a cedar stand.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact Stephen

Keywords

Insect pests, Lowland/ wetland conifers, Lowland/ bottomland hardwoods, Assisted migration, Planting, Refugia

Last Updated

Tuesday, November 1, 2016