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Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) Network!

February 2024 Newsletter

Photo credit: Field Peterson

Message from ASCC Network Leads

Thank you to everyone for your work in 2023. We are grateful for your continuous engagement and dedication. Since launching in 2009, the ASCC Network has come a long way in expanding our reach. As of this new year, we have 14 installations, including 11 core sites and 3 affiliate sites. Notably, this year we also received critical support from the Forest Service as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The funding recognizes the value of the ASCC Network to inform and accelerate implementation of climate-informed management practices for NFS lands. 

We’ve also been able to grow the capacity of our Network lead team in exciting ways. This year, Courtney Peterson moved into an expanded role as the ASCC Program Manager. Maria Vicini joined our team in the fall as the new ASCC Coordinator. Thank you to Courtney for her continuous dedication to our team, and welcome again to Maria! These team developments will allow us to foster additional cross-site collaboration, streamline communication efforts, and build additional capacity as we venture through 2024 and beyond.

Speaking of cross-site collaboration, many sites had the opportunity to interface at the National SAF Convention last October. We’ll have additional opportunities for cross-site collaboration at our in-person workshop in June 2024 — stay tuned for additional details in February. On top of that, we also have an exciting ScienceX ASCC webinar series planned for April 8-12, 2024. Finally, we hope to see many of you at the National Silviculture Workshop in July, where we are hosting a pre-training workshop on climate-adaptive silviculture.

As we look ahead, we continue to strategize around how we can foster additional collaboration, accelerate implementation and monitoring of sites, and develop regional climate-adaptive silviculture and natural resource training for managers. Thank you for providing your feedback and ideas in the newsletter response form. As always, we are deeply thankful for each and every one of you.

-The ASCC Network Team







Courtney Peterson



Upcoming: ASCC In-Person Workshop

Photo credit: Mountain Studies Institute

When: June 10-14, 2024

Where: Humphrey School Conference Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Stay tuned for a calendar invitation and additional meeting details in February. 

Please contact Maria Janowiak and Maria Vicini if you have any questions.

News from Around the Network

Robinson Forest ASCC Site

The Robinson Forest site will complete pretreatment data collection in the spring of 2024 and implement several pretreatment monitoring programs throughout the growing season of 2024, including microclimate and wildlife monitoring.

Photo: Tour of the Robinson Forest ASCC site with TNC foresters from across Central Appalachia on September 19th, 2023.

Taylor Park ASCC Site

Progress is being made toward initiating treatments at Taylor Park! Working closely with site leads and partners, the GMUG National Forest has finalized treatment layouts and is completing supplementary NEPA review. Abundant pre-treatment data have been collected during the most recent 2023 summer field season and environmental data are being logged continuously over the winter as we develop our baseline understanding of the influence of current forest structure on understory irradiance, thermal conditions, snow hydrology and moisture availability.

Photo: Western Colorado University field technicians Courtney King and Andres Villa establish an environmental sensor and datalogger array. 

Photo credit: Jonathan Coop

Ohio Hills ASCC Site

Ohio Hills has entered its implementation phase. Stands are being marked and expected to be harvested soon. The research team is also busy establishing new studies and analyzing data. Summary statistics on stand structure and composition collected on Ohio Hills’ 200 research plots were used to assist timber marking. New studies include 1) ground layer and seedling, 2) coarse woody material, 3) seedbank, and 4) and forest bird and salamander community studies. In addition, detailed topography data are being collected on the research plots. Soils collected for the seedbank study have been established in the greenhouse and thousands of new germinants are already emerging and being identified.

Photo: Ohio Hills’ seedbank study in the greenhouse, where researchers collected soil samples in the field to identify what plant species occur in the seedbank before treatments are implemented.

Photo credit: Todd Hutchinson

Driftless Area Affiliate ASCC Site

The Driftless Area ASCC treatments are being implemented in Iowa (3 blocks) and Wisconsin (2 blocks), and marking is nearly finished in Minnesota (3 blocks) where the there is a 1-year delay. The summer 2024 field season will be a busy one with sampling planned across the entire study.

Photo: Midstory treatment at Hallock Demonstration Forest (Millville, WI).

Photo credit: Brad Hutnick

John Prince Research Forest ASCC Site

Summer 2023 was very busy with the main focus being the planting of all the treatment units and associated regeneration measurements. Commercial planting crews started shortly after snow melt and proceeded to plant 560,118 seedlings. The planting operation was complex and Sue Grainger and Kaitlyn Kuzma-Wells invested a huge amount of time making sure everything was planted where it was intended to be. The planting consisted of an operational plant as well as the establishment of “common-garden” structure experimental plots. In addition to the planting, we had bird and small mammal biologists (working under Ken Otter) evaluating the impact of the treatments on wildlife, and teams working with Kristen Waring recording initial forest health impacts.

Photo: Studying forest health in the resistance treatment.

Photo credit: Ché Elkin

Colorado State Forest ASCC Site

Crews continued to establish permanent research plots, collect pre-treatment forestry inventory, understory plants, and soils. Modelling of the treatments in FVS is complete! An uncrewed aerial system (UAS) was flown across the units to aid in monitoring changes in forest structure across the stands. Development of our strategy for seed sourcing and collection for the assisted migration portion of experiment is underway. In 2024, we plan to wrap up any unfinished forestry inventory, install some audio/sonar sensors to monitor pre-treatment birds and bats, and finalize the assisted migration seedling plan. Units are currently being marked and laid out for the bidding to occur. Harvests are scheduled for 2025/2026.

Photo: A beautiful fall day for marking wildlife trees.

Photo credit: Field Peterson

Southern New England

Exurban Affiliate ASCC Site

Progress at the Southern New England sites includes treatment implementation at the Hillsdale replicate in RI and marking for treatment in 2024 at the Lee Farm site in Coventry, CT. We are planning to present updates about our work at at least three conferences this year, are planning several field tours for various audiences and plan to offer these sites as a field trip for the 2025 National SAF meeting to be held in Hartford. We are pleased to report good survival of planted and browse-protected American chestnut at our Mohegan State Forest replicate site.

Photo: An American chestnut seedling outgrowing its browse protection.

Photo credit: Thomas Worthley

Crosby Farm Regional Park
Urban Affiliate ASCC Site

In 2023 the floodplain forest saw its first flood! We are happy to say that the vast majority of tree species were more than able to weather the flood as we collected our 4th year of data with many of our seedlings now over 20 feet tall and fully established. We had the opportunity to share our experiment with the Mayor of Saint Paul and the Director of the National Park System!

Photo: Pollinator this spring on planted willow.

Photo credit: Abby Daniel

Petawawa Research Forest ASCC Site

Treatments are complete! In 2023, site preparation was finished and all tree planting was completed. Post establishment surveys are planned for 2024.

Photo: A variety of the updates from the PRF in 2023, including tree plantings, site preparation, and a new PhD project.

Photo credit: Michael Hoepting

Flathead National Forest/
Coram Experimental Forest ASCC Site

2023 marked the first post-harvest sampling entry, where we focused on quantifying understory vegetation and forest fuels. We're looking forward to planting in May 2024, followed by measuring seedlings and overstory.

Photo: Technicians received on-site training to learn the PhotoLoad technique for quantifying fuels on the forest floor.

Photo credit: Justin Crotteau

Second College Grant ASCC Site

The Second College Grant ASCC site hosted several field tours for managers from northern New England and the broader eastern US during 2023. This included a tour in June with resource management staff from the White Mountain National Forest and an October tour with the Eastern Research Forest Managers group. In addition, silvicultural and wildlife outcomes from our site were included as part of Northeast Silviculture Institute for Foresters Climate Adaptation and Forest Carbon Module held in October.

Photo: Second College Grant ASCC collaborator Dr. Dave King (USFS-NRS) discusses bird community responses to ASCC treatments on field tour with the Eastern Research Forest Managers group.

Photo credit: Tony D'Amato

The Jones Center at Ichauway ASCC Site

In 2023, we collected soil samples across our study site. Organic and mineral soil samples continue to be processed by the Ecological Silviculture Lab. This work is being done in addition to standard monitoring of forest attributes on permanent plots.

Photo: Soil collection after prescribed fire at The Jones Center at Ichauway.

Photo credit: Joshua Puhlick

San Juan National Forest ASCC Site

Movement on getting the ASCC units ready to be laid out and sold gained momentum this past year. In response to the good news, crews returned to the site to remeasure the plots established in 2014 to capture any changes. In addition, we started to measure understory plants and collected soil. Furthermore, a snowtography monitoring station was installed to measure snowpack persistence across different canopy conditions. Units are currently being remarked and laid out for the bidding to occur. Harvests are scheduled for 2025/2026.

Photo: Dry Mixed conifer forest with a white fir understory dominates the wetter portions of the San Juan NF ASCC site.

Photo credit: Mountain Studies Institute

Cutfoot Experimental Forest/
Chippewa National Forest ASCC Site

In 2023, the Cutfoot ASCC site was in a sustained re-measurement mode, with many variables sampled as part of the 9th-year since harvest campaign. A big focus was science delivery events, including tours for a forestry delegation from the Czech Republic, the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, and the US Fish and Wildlife Ecology Working Group. Webinars included the Forest Stewards Guild, the National FS Genetics meeting, the USFS Office of Sustainability and Climate, and the SAF Genetics Working Group. Cutfoot ASCC was also featured in stories on NPR platforms, including Here and Now, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.

Photo: Eight-year old bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) from a central IL seedsource planted in the transition treatment.

Photo credit: Josh Kragthorpe

Network Impact

The ASCC Network was busy in 2023! Highlights included:

  • Addressing whether partial harvest operations (in contrast to clear-cutting) facilitate climate adaptive forest regeneration. — John Prince Research Forest

  • Sampling soils to look at the effects on nutrients and soil moisture, as well as expanding the plots to include a detailed botanical survey. — Colorado State Forest

  • Studying the assisted migration of seedlings by collecting seeds of the same species from a variety of climates to understand how local climate adaptation influences intra-specific differences in growth and survival. The sampling scheme will compare seedlings from wet vs dry cold environments and from monsoonal vs. summer drought warm and hot environments. — Colorado State Forest

  • Collecting data on survival and growth for species with minimal existing research. — Crosby Farm Regional Park Urban Affiliate

  • Finding high survival and growth of planted tree species, particularly those with seed sources from 120-250 miles south, which helped to clarify that the climate in northern MN has already changed and that the species cannot move easily on their own. — Cutfoot Experimental Forest

  • Assessing differences in biodiversity by treatment type. — Flathead National Forest/ Coram Experimental Forest

  • Understanding the relationship between the arrangement and density of trees, the persistence of snowpack, and soil moisture availability. — San Juan National Forest

  • Partnering with federal land management agencies to develop operational-scale experiments. — Taylor Park

  • Collecting new insights from practicing foresters during the workshop for the Lee Farm site and re-designing browse protection for seedlings at the Mohegan State Forest site. — Southern New England Exurban Affiliate

Network sites led tours, presentations, webinars, publications, and more:

Field tour highlights that each site shared were extensive and wide-ranging. They spanned a variety of audiences, including university students and partners, local forestry and harvesting contractors, National Advanced Silviculture Program participants, forestry professionals from the Czech Republic, the Southern New England Forests Climate Action Network, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the White Mountain National Forest, along with numerous tours for interested researchers, forest managers, and other collaborators.

Site leads and partners also presented to a variety of audiences, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Forest Service Office of Climate Change
  • Society of American Foresters Genetics Working Group
  • The Forest Stewards Guild
  • University of California Berkeley School of Natural Resources
  • University of Washington Stevens Point Fire Ecology Series
  • The Nature Conservancy Assisted Migration Forum; Minnesota Forest Resources Council
  • Superior National Forest Leadership Meeting
  • New Jersey Forest Owners Association
  • Midwest Climate Change Workshop
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Climate Change Working Group
  • Forest Service First Friday All Climate Change Talks Webinar
  • Colorado/Wyoming States Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting
  • Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting
  • Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting
  • 10th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress
  • 12th International Union of Forest Research Organizations Joint Conference, Units 1.05 and 1.09

Photo credit: Ché Elkin

In summary, thank you for another great year and for your time, energy, and enthusiasm as part of the ASCC Network! We hope to see you in person in June 2024.