Commitment to Climate Smart Management of Working Forests

Manomet is excited to share the following survey results with you, revealing a significant shift in commitment to a climate smart approach to managing working forests in Maine.

 

On July 16th and August 6th of this year, Manomet staff provided workshops for Maine’s Forester’s Institute. Launched in 2008 by the Maine Forest Service, this series of educational programs has three objectives: Provide topical and interactive sessions for Maine Licensed Foresters; deliver sessions on a regular schedule; and offer sessions at low or no cost. Attending foresters can receive continuing education credits, which helps them meet their licensing requirements in the state of Maine.

 

For Manomet, these presentations were an opportunity for us to engage in general outreach to forest management professionals in Maine, and was funded through a grant from the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust. Manomet’s workshop was titled “Field Forester’s Practices for Managing Forests in a Changing Environment- What Actions Foresters Can Take Tomorrow.” It began with an introduction to Manomet’s Climate Smart Land Network and included an overview of basic climate science, risks and opportunities associated with climate change in Maine, possible management approaches, and ways to take action by focusing on regeneration, stream crossings, monitoring pests, ensuring access, and building windfirm stands.

 
“Our goal for these workshops,” Manomet’s Applied Forest Scientist Jennifer Hushaw outlined, “was to bring people up-to-speed on relevant climate science concepts and projections for change in Maine, as well as walking through various management topics and addressing how climate concerns could be incorporated into planning and operations.”

 

Eric Walberg (right) of Manomet and Tom Doak (left), Executive Director of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM), discuss forest management at a harvest site on SWOAM land trust property in Winthrop, Maine in late October 2014.

 

There was an excellent range in attendees, which included Maine Forest service staff and district foresters, some private forestry consultants, landowners, and others from university, private, and federal organizations in Maine.

 

Manomet staff administered a survey to 23 attendees, which yielded some exciting results. There were five questions and we’ve combined the answers from the two groups into one set of data.

 

When asked: Prior to this workshop, did you consider climate change in your forest management decisions? Thirty percent (30%) answered “No.”

 

When asked: Do you plan to incorporate climate change into management decisions in the future? Eighty percent (80%) answered “Yes,” with the remainder answering “Maybe.” Plans for the future included, sizing-up stream crossings to accommodate more frequent heavy rainfall events, enhanced monitoring to detect change, and adjustments to the species mix, as well as “More monitoring of pests and watching species creep” and “Recommending my coworkers learn more on this subject.”

 

All attendees reported an improved understanding of climate science and forest impacts, and that the workshops provided them with a useful approach for thinking about climate change impacts and adaptation that can be implemented now to make the forest more resilient.

 

Manomet staff look forward to their next workshop and greatly appreciate the grant support provided by Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust. Learn more about Manomet’s Climate Smart Land Network in our latest addition of the Manomet Magazine: Partnerships for Sustainability. 

 

-Bridget Alexander