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Duveneck Abstract for US-IALE: Assisted Migration for climate change adaptation: Forest management scenarios in northern Minnesota

posted Apr 3, 2012, 7:43 PM by   [ updated Apr 3, 2012, 7:46 PM ]

Contributing authors: Robert M. Scheller, Mark White

Restoring and maintaining ecological connectivity is one of the primary climate change adaptation strategies available to land managers. We assessed how assisted migration of southern species improves ecological connectivity and resilience under different climate scenarios in northeastern Minnesota. We simulated aboveground biomass change, harvesting, wind, and wildfire, using the forest ecosystem model, LANDIS-II.  We simulated the effects of three climate regimes (current climate and SRES A1FI and B1 emissions scenarios; derived from the PCM climate model) over 150 years.  We simulated assisted migration via the widespread planting of four tree species typically found south of our landscape. The high emissions scenario showed a substantial decline in many extant species whereas the current climate and lower emissions scenarios showed only modest declines or increases.  Under a heavy planting regime, species that currently have minimal or no presence on the landscape, were able to establish throughout much of the landscape.  Our results suggest that assisted migration has the potential to overcome temporal and spatial barriers to natural migration. We conclude that forest management should consider assisted migration as an option to maintain ecological connectivity and diversity.  

-Matthew J. Duveneck