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You are here: Home News & Events Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Project Now Underway

Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Project Now Underway

A new study is underway in New Hampshire's northwoods that will further our understanding of management options for climate change adaptation. The Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project is a collaborative effort among scientists and land managers to develop a network of experimental silvicultural trials in different forest ecosystem types throughout the United States, and the Second College Grant, located in the Northern Forest region of New Hampshire and owned and managed by Dartmouth College, is one of five ASCC study sites. The project was initiated last fall and launched into full-force this spring with pre-treatment data collection. Timber harvests began this summer to implement forest management treatments demonstrating the three adaptation options of resistance, resilience, and transition. Scientists and managers will be planting tree species that have been identified as future-adapted for the transition treatment next spring, which includes northern red oak, bitternut hickory, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, basswood, black birch, bigtooth aspen, and chestnut. To learn more about the Second College Grant ASCC project, contact the Site Leads Tony D'Amato or Chris Woodall.

Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) is a collaborative effort to establish a series of experimental silvicultural trials across a network of different ecosystem types throughout the United States. Scientists, land managers, and partners are developing trial sites as part of a multi-region study researching long-term ecosystem responses to range of climate change adaptation actions.


The primary objectives of ASCC are to:

  • Create a multi-region study with local-suited climate change adaptation treatments using input from an expert panel of regional scientist and local managers
  • Introduce natural resource managers to concepts, approaches, and tools that help integrate climate change considerations into resource management and silvicultural decision making.


Study Design

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 response of these forest types to climate change. In using this two-tiered design, 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 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, with a "no action" control.


To kick off each ASCC site, a multiday workshop is held to familiarize local managers and scientists with adaption approaches and tactics for forest management. During the workshop, an expert panel of scientist and local managers also develops the specific treatments for the experiment, which includes designing resistance, resilience and transition objectives along a spectrum or gradient of climate change accommodation.


The framework of the ASCC project provides a straightforward system and a robust, replicate and long-term study design for testing climate change adaptation strategies in forest management. It also equips managers across the country with a practical approach to incorporating a suite of adaptation actions into silvicultral planning. Each ASCC treatment unit is of is of operational scale and represents significant harvest areas at each site, adding to the value and sustainability of the research. It also fosters collaboration through the long-term partnerships between researchers and managers at both the local and national levels. In this way, the ASCC project is responding to the need for operational, tangible examples of adaptive management that can foster resilience to climate change impacts and enable ecosystems to adapt under uncertain futures.


Read benefits and impacts of the ASCC project as well as the progress and next steps...