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Forests, Management, and Climate Change in MN, MI

Title: Scenarios for Forest Reserve Expansion and Adaptive Management under Alternative Climate Change Scenarios in the northern Great Lakes 

Abstract: We assessed how an expansion of forest reserves and climate-adaptive management may improve ecological connectivity and resilience under different climate change scenarios. We also assessed resilience as the capacity for these systems to maintain extant forest communities and the ability to store carbon and provide wood for harvesting. Restoring and maintaining ecological connectivity is one of the primary climate change adaptation strategies available to land managers, and this study was integrated into an ongoing regional Climate Change Response Framework to link the results to land management throughout the Great Lakes forested area. Collaborators included The Nature Conservancy and the USDA Forest Service and Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. 

Results indicated that climate change will dramatically alter the forest communities in both northeastern Minnesota and Northern Lower Michigan with  substantial species and forest type shifts under climate change scenarios compared to current climate. 

We also explored alternative silviculture options including expanding reserves, increasing rotation ages, and climate suitable planting that may provide some resistance to change but more importantly resilience from climate change to a continued forest of ecosystem services. 

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