Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change

Adaptive Silvicutlure for Climate Change (ASCC) is a collaborative network of University and USDA Forest Service partners working to establish a series of experimental silvicultural trials in distinct forest types across the United States. Each trial serves as part of this multiregion study focused on understanding and evaluating management options designed to enable forests to respond to a changing climate.

Forest managers need robust examples of how to integrate climate change adaptation into silvicultural planning and on-the-ground actions. To address this, a collaboration between University researchers (including University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, Michigan Tech, and University of Vermont) and USDA Forest Service partners are working to complete a series of experimental silvicultural trials in 4 to 5 distinct forest types across the United States. Each trial serves as part of this multiregion study focused on understanding and evaluating management options designed to enable forests to respond to a changing climate. Site-specific treatments are developed according to local conditions and tailored to meet site management objectives, while aligned under a common framework for answering important questions about the responses of these forest types to climate change. In using this two-tiered design (Fig. 1), ASCC provides tangible means of evaluating adaptive management strategies across distinct forest types, allowing researchers to ask broad questions about climate change adaptation across all study sites, while also addressing on-the-ground management application specific to individual sites. Adaptive planning processes guide treatment design and implementation, under three foundational climate change adaptation options (after Millar et al. 2007), with a “no action” control:

Figure 1: While some elements of the ASCC research design are common to all participating forests (teal columns on the left), aspects unique to each forest and forest type (orange column on the right) are designed with input from local managers and experts.

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