The Nature Conservancy owns and manages nearly 17,000 acres of a core forest within a matrix of diverse forest management of State Park land, State Forest, State Wildlife Management area and private forestland. The goal of the Tug Hill Conservation Area is to restore this core reserve to mature forest, a successional stage that is virtually absent on Tug Hill. The conservation area protects habitat for wide-ranging mammals (such as bobcat, pine marten and black bear) and woodland birds (such as blackburnian warblers, three-toed woodpeckers and goshawks), as well as safeguards the water quality of miles of rivers and streams.
Climate Change Impacts
Challenges and Opportunities
Managers from The Nature Conservancy have identified Tug Hill as an important climate refugia in the near to medium term, as well as a current and future corridor for regional wildlife populations. Informed by both Conservancy’s and external science resources, they conducted critical evaluations of possible strategies and their likelihood of long-term success in the face of climate change. They determined that forest recovery through natural processes would not be sufficient on the time scale needed to bolster ecosystem adaptation to climate change and that minor management interventions are needed to enable long-term processes key to forest community resilience. As such, this project is focused on guiding climate resilient species composition during early stand development, and restoring adequate regeneration of underrepresented, native, climate-adapted species and promoting more diverse age classes. These interventions will increase forest system resilience against the combined impacts of climate change.
A forest resilience scorecard was also developed as part of this project. This qualitative rapid assessment assists forest landowners, geared especially toward private landowners, evaluate their forests risks from climate change.
Several resources, including the Adaptation Workbook, were used to identify adaptation actions for this project. Actions include:
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
5.3. Retain biological legacies.
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
9.4. Protect future-adapted seedlings and saplings.
9.7. Introduce species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.