The Changing Focus on Science
In may of 2015, the Vermont Department of Forestry, Parks and Recreation published a supplement to current forest management recommendations. This supplement is titled “Creating and Maintaining Resilient Forests in Vermont.” It is intended to provide guidance for forest practitioners in making decisions about forest adaptation practices and sustainability in the face of current climate change effects.
A follow-up to the publication of this guidance document was a two-day seminar held at Hubbard Brook, a facility of the White Mountain National Forest, in New Hampshire on November 18th and 19th of 2015. Due to a scheduling conflict, I was not able to attend, but I immediately obtained the 50-page supplement and have been studying it ever since. Though the supplement was meant to be a guidebook specifically for foresters and landowners who manage Vermont forest, I find that it is also applicable to New Hampshire’s forests and I intend to use it in my work.
The forest management practices recommended by the Vermont supplement are the same practices that I have used during my consulting career to sustainably grow high-quality timber products; however, the subject of climate change was not considered. Going forward, forest managers, including me, must also manage forest to create resilient and adaptive forests using the same tools that have been used previously.
The difference is that the traditional practices are used to implement a strategy for reducing climate change. Therefore, I believe foresters and landowners will easily catch on to the strategies and use them successfully in their practice to reduce climate change effects as well as growing timber for local use. The University of New Hampshire Extension Service can be relied upon to stage training sessions for professional foresters on the subject of climate change mitigation even in an uncertain future.