Management Goals & Treatments

What approach best prepares forest ecosystems for climate change? Adaptation options occupy a continuum of management goals related to their levels of desired change. A team of natural resource specialists and researchers familiar with the Second College Grant convened for a three-day workshop in the summer of 2016 to develop the study design for the ASCC project site. The team developed a set of desired future condition statements, objectives, and tactics for each major climate adaptation trajectory:

RESISTANCE

Second College Grant resistance treatment Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont
Second College Grant resistance treatment Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont

maintain relatively unchanged conditions over time

Management Goals:

  • Encourage a multi-aged / size structure and maintain quality across all size classes
  • Maintain hydrological cycle and erosion
  • Stable carbon pools with accreting living biomass carbon
  • Maintain/increase vigor and quality of residual trees while maintaining current productivity levels consistent with type

Strategies & Approaches: 

  • reduce competition for moisture, nutrients, and light 
  • single-tree selection (70-80 ft2/acre) 
  • multi-aged cohort 
  • retain biological legacies 
  • increase downed dead wood 

RESILIENCE

Second College Grant Resilience Treatment; Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont
Second College Grant Resilience Treatment; Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont

allow some change in current conditions, but encourage eventual return to original conditions

Management Goals:

  • Multiple combinations of species composition and structure present (e.g., multiple pathways to recovery from disturbance)
  • High overall tree species and functional diversity with increased component of local species adapted to future climate conditions/disturbance compared to current condition
  • Multiple age classes present
  • Increased amount of biological legacies and dead wood
  • Same growth/productivity as Resistance treatment, but allowing for some deviation/oscillation
  • High production of beech hard mast for wildlife

Strategies & Approaches: 

  • reduce competition for moisture, nutrients, and light 
  • group and single-tree selection (20% in gaps of 0.1-0.25 acre in size, 20% in reserves, 70-80 ft2/acre matrix) 
  • maintain and restore diversity of native species 
  • increase drought-adapted species (red maple and beech) 

TRANSITION

Transition gap treatment in the fall; Photo Credit: Peter Clark, Rubenstein School PhD student
Second College Grant transition treatment gap post-harvest (Fall 2018); Photo Credit: Peter Clark, PhD student, University of Vermont

actively facilitate change to encourage adaptive responses

Management Goals:

  • Increased dominance of species adapted to future climate change currently on site plus increased proportion of planted species (≥ 20% composition) not currently on site that are better-adapted to future climate change
  • Increased amount of biological legacies and dead wood
  • Increased diversity of tree functional traits

Strategies & Approaches: 

  • variable density thin / irregular shelterwood (20% in gaps of 0.25-1 acre, 10-20% in reserves, 70-80 ft2/acre matrix) 
  • increase future-adapted, off-site species (northern red oak, bitternut hickory, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, basswood, black birch, bigtooth aspen, chestnut) 
    Bitternut hickory seedling planted in transition treatment
    Bitternut hickory seedling planted in the Second College Grant transition treatment; Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont
    American Chestnut Seedling planted in transition treatment
    American chestnut seedling planted in the Second College Grant transition treatment; Photo Credit: Tony D'Amato, University of Vermont