• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation

Huron Pines is creating a management plan for the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve that will incorporate climate change resiliency and serve as a model for other properties.

The Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve is a 428-acre preserve that includes a hardwood forest stand, a lowland conifer swamp and a unique alvar glade. The property is used by the community for hiking, snowshoeing and birdwatching. Through the Adaptation Workbook, Huron Pines developed a management plan that incorporates climate change considerations to increase structural and species diversity and addresses invasive pest species. The plan includes modifying infrastructure to accommodate passive recreation and future conditions. Finally, our goal is to increase public and surrounding landowner interest and awareness of managing land in the face of climate change and replicating management strategies across a larger landscape.

Project Area

Map of the Emily Min Hunt Preserve
The Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve is a 428-acre property in Presque Isle County, Michigan. The Preserve is on Long Lake within the Lake Huron Watershed. It is primarily wooded with some open grassland area and alvar features.

Management Goals

 The management plan for the preserve is currently in development and includes the main goals of:

  • Maintaining and protecting species and habitat diversity
  • Reducing risk and impacts of disturbance for all habitats
  • Maintaining and enhancing surface water quality
  • Creating a management model and example for other communities and private lands with similar resources
  • Maintaining and improving accessibility for public recreation

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Increased storm events
Changes in seasonality, longer growing season
Forest pests and diseases (beech bark disease)
Invasive plant species
Reduced winter snowpack and frozen ground days
Moisture stress and extended droughts

Challenges and Opportunities

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

Challenges

Adjusting management activities to changes in seasonality and future uncertainties
Changes in hydrology affecting lowland conifers, recreation trails, shallow soils, and other plant species
Loss of frozen days and snowpack impacting seed scarification, insect diversity, and small mammals
Human demographics may make climate change communications more difficult
Balancing cultural importance of deer hunting with understanding of high deer herbivory pressure
Poison ivy may thrive and become stronger with drier conditions
Longer growing seasons, longer droughts, forest pests

Opportunities

Longer growing season could benefit native species
Able to build models for Best Management Practices for monitoring
Able to explore different techniques in different zones and test methods
Increasing diversity on property could increase diversity of neighboring properties
Increase public and surrounding landowner interest and awareness of managing with climate change in mind
Engage public in thinking about places with multiple values (historical, environmental)
Connect with landowners to collaborate on deer herbivory pressure, protecting hydrologic conditions, and other challenges

Adaptation Actions

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

Area/Topic
Approach
Tactics
Northern Hardwoods
Forest harvest using variable density treatments to achieve diverse age classes and increased heterogeneity on the landscape
Explore options for expanding the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve, including landowner outreach and funding mechanisms - prioritize parcels with wetland and alvar systems
Promote diverse fire regimes to result in ecosystem diversity. Alternate timing of fires throughout the year
Establish a monitoring protocol for invasive species (2x Annually) and implement control measures
Barrens
Establish a monitoring protocol for invasive species (2x Annually) and implement control measures
Barrens plantings with species (TBD) adapted for warmer/drier conditions
Design a strategy to transition the apple orchard to resemble the adjacent barrens area (whether through tree removal, herbaceous introduction, soil loosening, or other appropriate techniques)
Explore options for expanding the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve, including landowner outreach and funding mechanisms - prioritize parcels with wetlands and alvar systems
Promote diverse fire regimes to result in ecosystem diversity. Alternative timing of fires throughout the year
Lowland Conifers
Establish a monitoring protocol for invasive species (2x Annually) and implement control measures
Explore options for expanding the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve, including landowner outreach and funding mechanisms - prioritize parcels with wetlands and alvar systems
Passive Recreation Areas
Build trails that provide access to the preserve while protecting sensitive features, including limiting impacts to alvar glade through the use of overlooks and barriers, building with erosion and rain run-off in mind, and boardwalks when needed
For parking lot installation, LID will be used to balance access priority with maintaining infiltration and soil health
Design a strategy to transition the apple orchard to resemble the adjacent barrens area (whether through tree removal, herbaceous introduction, soil loosening, or other appropriate techniques)
Explore options for expanding the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve, including landowner outreach and funding mechanisms - prioritize parcels with wetlands and alvar systems
Promote diverse fire regimes to result in ecosystem diversity. Alternate timing of fires throughout the year

Monitoring

Several monitoring items were identified that could help inform future management, including size, basal area, and species composition in northern hardwoods, GIS tracking and data collection for invasive plant species populations, success of plantings in barrens systems, and inventories of wildlife abundance. The use of volunteers and citizen science groups for monitoring forest pests and diseases and other items was also discussed.

Project Documents

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact
Kailey
.

Keywords

Lowland/ wetland conifers
Management topics
Recreation