Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC)
ASCC is a project that aims at understanding the affect of climate change on forests across the US and Canada in order to implement more informed forest management techniques in the future. The ASCC project along the Mississippi River National Park at Crosby Farms Regional Park in St. Paul is the first affiliate ASCC project that is located in an urban setting.
With increasing temperatures in summer months and less precipitation in the winters, Minnesota is expected to see more droughts during the summer which impacts the floodplain forest ecosystem and tree habitat. To understand how to prepare the forests for the changing climate, three approaches are being used: resistance, resilience, and transition. Resistance refers to keeping conditions the same but helping forests defend themselves against changes. This involves planting more native vegetation. Resilience creates an environment that has the ability to rebound back from disturbances and entails planting trees that can withstand floods and droughts better than the current trees in the floodplain. Finally, transition instills a change in the condition to promote a climate adaptive tree canopy. This approach focuses on integrating even more flood and drought tolerant species or genotypes than those introduced in the resilience approach.
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Species composition drives ecohydrology of a floodplain forest in the Upper Mississippi River, by Claire McHenry, Leslie Brandt, Rebecca Montgomery, Marcella Windmuller-Campione
Abstract: Increases in severe droughts and shifting flood regimes coupled with low canopy diversity places floodplain forests among the most at risk under a changing climate. Intense, less frequent precipitation events and the introduction of the invasive species Agrilus planipennis are threatening the floodplain forests along the Mississippi River and causing increases in overstory tree mortality. The Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) Network tests three alternative strategies for managing forests in a changing climate: resistance, resilience, and transition. This project aims to understand the effect of alternative species selection strategies on the ecohydrology of the forest across resistance and transition treatment plots at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area affiliate ASCC site. We measured the volumetric water content of the soil using the HydroSense II water sensor with 20 cm probes in the rooting zone of species in resistance and transition plots two, four, and six days following a precipitation event. We found that soil moisture varied significantly between plots and between tree species. We found that in both the resistance and transition plots, soil moisture in the rooting zone under Betula nigra was lower than the rooting zones of other species. In general, rooting zone soil moisture was higher in the transition plots than resistance plots due to differences in species composition. This study suggests that selecting future-adapted tree species could alter soil moisture dynamics in floodplain forests.
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Water Potential and Photosynthesis Rates in Urban Mississippi Floodplain Seedlings, by Cullen Hauck, St. Olaf College; Dr. Rebecca Montgomery, and Dr. Marcella Windmuller-Campione, University of Minnesota, TC; and Dr. Leslie Brandt, USDA Forest Service
Abstract: With the onset of climate change in Minnesota, the northern floodplains of the Mississippi River are experiencing longer droughts and increasing parasitic devastation from the emerald ash borer. As we attempt to restore these ecosystems, one lesser-understood subject is the effect of soil water content on water potential and photosynthesis in seedlings. This study sought to provide insight via sampling 12 species of native and nonnative seedlings in predawn and midday sessions over two days for water potential and soil moisture. Native trees were sampled from the resistance treatment groups, and nonnative came from the transition plots. Additionally, one native and nonnative species (P. deltoides and Q. palustris) were examined for photosynthesis and conductance rates in plots varying in soil moisture. We found that, for both treatments, predawn water potential measurements significantly exceeded midday. Additionally, mean photosynthesis and conductance rates taken were significantly higher in P. deltoides than in Q palustris. More research is needed to assess whether P. deltoides’s energy production rates coincide with P. bicolor’s high water potential.