Management goals on the property include conserving water quality and soil productivity, increasing the quality of the timber resource, providing diverse habitats, and providing recreational opportunities. More information about the Atlas Timberlands and their management is available through the Vermont Land Trust's website.
Climate Change Impacts
As part of this project, the managers of the Atlas Timberlands considered the potential effects of climate change on a block of forestland totaling four hundred acres. Many of the current management activities that are planned for this parcel and also across the entire Atlas Timberlands property increase forest resilience to climate change. For example, forest management activities foster a diversity of tree species and forest habitats, which can help reduce the risks associated with a species declining as conditions change. Additionally, the relative large size of this property and its adjacency to many other large tracts of forest land result in a high degree of landscape connectivity, which may reduce ecosystem vulnerability and allow for communities to adapt across the landscape.
Reduced operability for winter logging is a major concern on this property and more broadly across the region. Land managers identified a forest stand that would typically be considered “winter ground” because of steep slopes and groundwater seeps. These features make it substantially more expensive to implement harvests in the summer and fall months because more robust roads, water crossings (culverts, bridges, etc.) and other infrastructure are needed to reduce the risk of damage to soils, water, and the residual forest. Through this project, identified needed modifications for road and drainage infrastructure that would make it possible to conduct a summer harvest and reduce the potential for negative impacts from logging. Costs, operational difficulties, and impacts were recorded.
The Adaptation Workbook was used to identify the adaptation actions for this project, which included:
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
4.2. Prioritize and maintain sensitive or at-risk species or communities.
10.3. Realign significantly disrupted ecosystems to meet expected future conditions.