The GMAC supports significant environmental education, scientific research, and outdoor recreation efforts on the property, in addition to maintaining and enhancing a mosaic of habitat types far all wildlife species. Wildlife management goals including managing for “responsibility species” as identified by Audubon Vermont’s Forest Birds Initiative, which manages for species that Vermont’s forests play a globally significant role in maintaining viable populations. Research goals include understanding the response of bird communities to forest management on the property so practices can be adapted accordingly. Other goals include low-impact recreation on the Center’s many hiking trails, and maintaining maple syrup production for educational programs.
In 2007, Audubon Vermont created a Management Plan for the entire GMAC property. The Plan identified several stands covering roughly 40 acres where active management would took place. Harvesting occurred recently on several of these stands, subsequently Audubon Vermont started to work on updating the Management Plan to identify future work across the property, including these stands as well as in the 10-acre sugarbush. Updates to the Management Plan will focus on the continued education and research goals of the GMAC, particularly managing for neo-tropical bird breeding habitat. Efforts to update the Center’s Management Plan recognizes that management activities to enhance the habitat value of forests for priority bird species also provides significant co-benefits for both climate adaptation to and carbon benefits to maintain and enhance forest health on the property.
Specific management objectives for the GMAC include:
- Protect interior forest conditions for neo-tropical songbird breeding habitat
- Increase sawtimber quantity, quality, and volume increment
- Increase understory development
- Reduce beech competition increase regeneration
- Controlling invasive species and prevent establishment of new invasives, particularly along hiking trails and in disturbed areas
Climate Change Impacts
Challenges and Opportunities
Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project that provide an array of benefits—including bird habitat, timber, and carbon—while increasing the ability of the forest to adapt to changing conditions for this project.
Adaptation tactics include:
2.5 Reduce competition for moisture, nutrients, and light
3.5 Alter forest structure to reduce the risk, severity, or extent of wind and ice damage
6.6 Promote species and structural diversity to enhance carbon capture and storage efficiency
7.1 Favor existing species or genotypes that are better adapted to future conditions