• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
Staff members from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Natural Resources Department completed the Adaptation Workbook in September 2016 to assess adaptation options on a tribal-owned property in northern Michigan.

Project Area

LTBB Reservation boundary and 1836 Ceded Territory
The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (LTBB) is centered on a reservation in far northern Michigan, occupying the western half of Emmet County and portions of a few islands in Lake Michigan. The LTBB reservation was established as part of an 1836 Treaty, which also established the rights of tribal members to hunt, fish, and gather across a large "ceded territory" in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Today, LTBB owns scattered parcels of land across the reservation. Much of the tribe's natural resources management has historically focused on monitoring and managing fish populations and key game species across the ceded territory and within the Great Lakes. For this project, LTBB staff focused on a 300-acre property directly owned by the tribe, which was acquired in part to generate locally-grown food for tribal members and the surrounding areas. About 200 acres of the property is forested and managed by the Natural Resources Department, consisting of a mix of upland and lowland forests, streams, and wetlands.

Management Goals

LTBB Natural Resources Department logo

Management goals for the forested portion of the Ziibimijwang property include maintaining and improving cultural values (including sugar bush), maintaining and improving wildlife value, and improving forest health. Some of the more specific management objectives are:

  • protect key tree species including ash, beech, maple, basswood, birch, and northern white-cedar 
  • increase old growth characteristics and wildlife value of mature upland forests through girdling and non-harvest practices
  • designate wildlife refuge areas to be excluded from active forest management

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
reduced soil moisture in the summer
damage from forest pests and diseases, particularly EAB, beech bark disease, and hemlock wooly adelgid
more difficult access for logging equipment with reduced snowpack
milder winters may boost the local deer population, increasing browse pressure on cedar and other preferred species

Challenges and Opportunities

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


Sap production may be less predictable due to changing springtime conditions
Future climate conditions may be too hot and dry to support northern white-cedar


Other climate-adapted tree species may be suitable to help achieve particular resource goals (red maple, boxelder, etc.)

Adaptation Actions

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

Cedar management
Install deer exclosures and tree tubes to promote cedar regeneration
Import seed stock from cedar populations in southern Michigan
Old fields
Plant a mix of trees and shrubs expected to provide wildlife and cultural value, including hzzenut, black cherry, black walnut, bur and chinkapin oak, sassafras, and tulip tree.


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Deer browse levels on cedar and other plants
Survival and growth of planted seedlings, particularly from southern seed sources
Regeneration of cedar within and outside exclosures
Human harvest rate of cedar

Next Steps

LTBB staff planted 275 cedar seedlings from a southwestern Michigan seed source in the spring of 2019. Survival was poor over the first growing season, due to a particularly dry summer. Only 54% of the seedlings survived the first growing season, but some will be re-planted in 2020. The LTTB has also planted 3,600 tree and shrub seedlings in old fields and canopy gaps at Ziibimijwang farm. These seedlings include a diverse mix of 24 species that were selected based on wildlife value, cultural values for the tribe, and anticipated adaptability to climate change. The Natural Resources Department will continue to refine plans for adaptation on the Ziibimijwang Farm over the next year.

Learn More


Lowland/ bottomland hardwoods
Lowland/ wetland conifers
Upland conifers
Upland hardwoods

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