- Maintaining forest communities that were historically characteristic of these site types over a natural range of ages, patch sizes, and compositions.
- Encourage mid- to late-successional forests that emulate natural disturbance dynamics (such as gaps) and increase under-represented species and age diversity.
Climate Change Impacts
Project partners identified a number of potential adaptation actions with the overarching intent to maintain the resilience of the forest to changing conditions. In the northern hardwood forest, actions to maintain and enhance tree species diversity were prescribed to reduce the risk from climate change-related declines in the dominant species. This included the use of group selection and shelterwood harvests to enhance natural regeneration of mid-tolerant species. Several of these species, including northern red oak and black cherry, are currently present on the property in relatively low amounts and are projected to fare better under climate change relative to other species that are currently present. Eastern white pine was also identified as a desirable species. Although it is projected to decrease under some climate scenarios, the species is at a lower risk of decline than other native conifers.
The managers generally viewed the proposed actions as slight adjustments, rather than a significant departure, to the current management trajectory. Additionally, several “contingency plans” were discussed for responding to disturbances or other unforeseen events. For example, lowland hardwood forests were identified as at risk from altered hydrologic regimes and reduced late growing season soil moisture from climate change, introduction of the emerald ash borer, or a combination of these threats. Although no active management is currently planned in these stands, swamp white oak and bur oak were identified as two potential species that could be planted in lowland hardwood forests to maintain forest cover if intervention was deemed necessary. These species are not currently present on the property but can be found in localized areas in northern Wisconsin, which would represent a small degree of assisted migration.
A select list of the adaptation actions recommended in the property's updated management plan includes:
2.1. Maintain or improve the ability of forests to resist pests and pathogens.