Frost Pond is 140-acre area of late-successional spruce-hemlock forest that is located within Baxter State Park's Scientific Forest Management Area. The Scientific Forest Management Area (SFMA) consists of almost 30,000 acres in the northwest corner of Baxter State Park that is managed primarily for sustainable timber management with an emphasis on supporting natural ecosystem processes and ensuring sustainable forest management.
The overall intent of management in the Frost Pond area is to maintain, foster, and, where necessary, create late-successional stand attributes in this spruce-hemlock forest over time. Specific management objectives include:
- Maintain the current stocking levels of large red spruce and hemlock trees.
- Maintain the current age distribution of red spruce over time, which means ensuring the survival of currently old trees and managing conditions that allow for healthy recruitment of trees into older age classes over time.
- Maintain current levels of downed wood and standing dead trees.
- Develop an operational schema that outlines how to conduct harvest operations in a way that mimics natural disturbance and supports natural ecosystem processes.
- Support natural biodiversity and monitor population levels and dynamics of old-forest obligate birds, salamanders, mammals (e.g., American marten), herbaceous species, and lichens.
Climate Change Impacts
However, the forests at Frost Pond have several factors that increase their adaptive capacity in light of the potential impacts, including high levels of landscape connectivity, high structural diversity, a lack of invasive species, and a currently cold climate that is likely to remain so for several decades.
Challenges and Opportunities
Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
5.3. Retain biological legacies.
5.4. Establish reserves to maintain ecosystem diversity.
Several monitoring items were identified in addition to the existing continuous forest inventory system that is in place. This includes work to measure tree cores to better understand the forest age distribution and expanding current monitoring of the condition of large red spruce trees to include eastern hemlock. Monitoring of lichen, bird, insect, and fungal communities will likely need to be done by skilled researchers, and so additional work to build relationships with the research community and pursue funding will be necessary.