Chippewa National Forest: Shingobee Vegetation Management Project

Yes
Action

Chippewa National Forest staff considered climate change effects and possible adaptation actions for a large forest management project. This Environmental Assessment for this project has been finalized and implementation of the project will proceed over the next 10 years. 

The project planning team for the Shingobee Vegetation Management Project used the Adaptation Workbook in the summer of 2014. The project has passed the formal public comment period and the team has completed the Environmental Assessment for the project. A Decision Notice to proceed with the project was signed in September 2015.

Project Area

The project area is in the west-southwest area of the Chippewa National Forest and boarders Leech Lake and Highway 371 in the vicinity of Walker, Minnesota. The project area encompasses approximately 47,300 acres. The Forest Service ownership is about 24,000 acres. About half of the project area is within the boundary of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation. This project area includes a diversity of Landscape Ecosystems, but all management activities are planned to occur on only the Dry Mesic Pine-Oak and Dry Pine LEs. Fire was historically the common natural disturbance factor in these ecosystems.

Management Goals

An aerial photo of Shingobee River emptying into Shingobee Bay on Leech Lake.

Some of the primary management goals for the Shingobee Project are to:

  • move the forest toward stated goals for tree species composition and age class distribution, as outlined in the Forest Plan
  • restore conditions more representative of native vegetation communities
  • maintain and improve wildlife habitat

Specifically, some of the management objectives of the Shingobee Project are to:

  • reduce the abundance of aspen
  • increase acres of conifers like red pine, white pine, and jack pine
  • increase the abundance of young forest
  • increase or maintain large, mature upland forest patches
  • manage hunter walking trails for grouse habitat
  • promot long-lived tree species in streambanks and riparian areas

Climate Change Impacts

Steep slopes along the Shingobee River.
For this project, project participants felt the most important anticipated climate change impacts will include:
Areas of steep slopes along rivers and throughout the landscape may be prone to erosion with heavy precipitation events.
Roughly two-thirds of the project area includes south or west-facing slopes, which might be higher risk areas for drought stress. 40% of the project area occurs on sandy soils that might also be more drought-prone.
This area is the furthest south and west on the Forest - within 50 miles of the prairie-forest border. This area may experience vegetation shifts before other areas of the forest.

Challenges and Opportunities

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

Challenges

Deer population increases will make it more challenging to do diversity planting and favor oaks or white pine.
Extreme precipitation events could flood plantings in riparian areas and black ash swamps.

Opportunities

Oak species and white pine are projected to do well under climate change.
Adding species and structural diversity to stands gives them more options in the future.

Adaptation Actions

The project planning team used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for the Shingobee project, many of which appeared in the final EA for the project:

Area/TopicApproachTactics
Forest type conversions
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Convert aspen to white pine on 14 acres, convert red pine to white pine on 17 acres, and convert mixed hardwoods to oak on 39 acres
Riparian areas
1.3. Maintain or restore riparian areas.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
Planting and seeding long-lived conifers such as red pine, white pine, and white spruce
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
Use uneven-aged harvests and mechanical/hand scarification in riparian areas to promote diverse age classes of long-lived species.
Aspen stands
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
Clearcut with reserves and coppice cuts on nearly 900 acres will generate a young age cohort.
Red pine stands
2.1. Maintain or improve the ability of forests to resist pests and pathogens.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
Commercial thinning on 946 acres will reduce stocking in red pine stands.
Retaining a diversity of tree species during thinning will promote diversity in red pine stands.
Oak stands
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
Clearcuts with reserves on nearly 500 acres will regenerate a young age class of oak.

Monitoring

Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:

Project Documents

Next Steps

This project will be implemented over the next ten years, and this page will be updated with results from implementation.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact Stephen or learn more at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=44591

Keywords

Oak, Upland conifers

Last Updated

Wednesday, November 30, 2016