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Forest Disturbance Processes

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment-Chippewa National Forest

Research Issue

[photo]: Aftermath of a major wind storm on the Chippewa National ForestForest managers must account for the potential effects of a changing climate when developing and implementing management plans.  However, it is difficult to predict how climate will affect the long-term outcome of management actions because climate has effects on many interacting processes that operate at landscape scales, including major disturbances such as fire, windstorms, insect outbreaks and timber harvest activities.

Our Research

We are using the LANDIS-II forest landscape disturbance and succession model to assist the managers of the Chippewa National Forest (Minnesota) to conduct a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for a very large landscape that includes a large area of land surrounding the National Forest.  LANDIS-II will simulate all the major processes that structure forest landscapes, including tree seed dispersal and establishment, growth and competition, forest management activities by other land owners, natural disturbances and climate change.  Part of the project is the development of a web-based Visualization Tool that allows managers to directly access model output maps and tables without the assistance of scientists, allowing them to conduct analyses and answer questions on a routine basis for decision support now and in the years to come.

Expected Outcomes

Chippewa NF managers will have access to LANDIS-II projections of future forest landscape dynamics under a number of different climate change scenarios and four generic management options: 1) business as usual, 2) emphasize ecosystem services, 3) emphasize ecosystem goods and 4) caretaker (minimal stewardship activities).  This will help the mangers better understand the effectiveness of potential management strategies and provide useful information to help them make decisions and formulate plans.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

Research Partners

Last Modified: March 31, 2015