Ottawa National Forest: Silvicultural Certification Stand


This example was created by Roger Powell, a forester on the Ottawa National Forest, as a component of the National Advanced Silviculture Program certification process. It is not scheduled for implementation. 

Project Documents

The Ottawa National Forest developed the Interior Project to accomplish a variety of goals within a contiguous area. More information about the project as a whole is available on the Ottawa NF website. In conjunction with the overall Interior Project, Roger Powell (a forester on the Ottawa) used a single stand within the project to satisfy the requirements of the National Advanced Silviculture Program (NASP). This stand was selected for a detailed silviculture certification exam, which included considering how climate change might be accounted for while continuing to meet the management objectives outlined in the Forest Plan.


Contact: Stephen Handler


Right: Mixed white pine and hemlock in stand 37. Photo credit: Roger Powell. 


Project Location and Goals

The Interior Project will occur on approximately 32,000 acres of National Forest System lands, within the Watersmeet and Kenton Ranger Districts. Overall project goals include reducing hazardous fuels, managing forests with a variety of silvicultural practices, and a host of other activities. The particular stand that received added attention for climate change impacts and adaptation is located in compartment 80 along the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River. It is within Management Area 8.1, which prioritizes protecting and enhancing the values of the Wild and Scenic River segments for recreation, fish, and wildlife. Specifically, the goals for Stand 37 include:

  • Increasing long-lived conifers
  • Increasing tree species diversity and habitat complexity
  • Increasing the number of snags and the amount of large woody material in the river.

Climate Change Considerations

Roger Powell from the Ottawa National Forest used the Adaptation Workbook from Forest Adaptation Resources to evaluate the potential climate change impacts for Stand 37 within compartment 80 of Management Area 8.1 in particular. Complete worksheets from the workbook are available below. Potential climate change impacts that are of major interest include:

  • Red pine, balsam fir, jack pine, white spruce, and hemlock are generally projected to decline under a range of future scenarios in the western Upper Peninsula.
  • Longer growing seasons, warmer temperatures, and altered precipitation regimes make it more likely that soils will be drier in the summer months. Moisture stress could result in outbreaks of forest pests like jack pine budworm and spruce budworm.  
  • Early snowmelt pulses or large rainfall events could result in flooding along the river corridor.

Adaptation Actions

For this exercise, the forester was able to identify several possible adaptation actions that could help achieve management goals while adjusting to climate change impacts. Examples include:

  • Maintaining existing red pine along river corridor to provide shade and stabilize banks
  • Conducting shelterwood harvests and underplanting with white pine to re-establish a species projected to be favored by future climate change.
  • Control deer populations by working with the state DNR to issue doe tags in the project area

Project Outcomes

Information from the Adaptation Workbook was included in the silvicultural exam for the NASP certification process. Complete worksheets from the workbook are available below. Recommended activities for Stand 37 were not included in the Draft Decision for the Interior Project. Nevertheless, this will be a helpful example for future work on the Ottawa NF and future NASP certification exams.

Right: Spruce-fir decline along the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River. Photo credit: Roger Powell. 


Last updated: 4/21/2014