Chippewa National Forest: Long Lake Vegetation Management Project


The planning team for the Long Lake project used the Adaptation Workbook in December of 2015, and they refined their ideas over the next several months. The Environmental Assessment for the project was published in August 2016 (available below). 

A project planning team with the Chippewa National Forest used the Adaptation Workbook to consider climate change risks and adaptation actions for a large vegetation management project.

Project Area

The Long Lake project area is located in the Deer River Ranger District of the Chippewa National Forest. It covers roughly 47,000 acres south of US Highway 2, along the south-east border of the National Forest. The Mississippi River runs through the project area and several lakes and wetlands are also mixed in with upland hardwoods and conifer stands. The Chippewa National Forest uses a system of Landscape Ecosystems to categorize the forest, and the Long Lake project area contains mostly Boreal Hardwood/Conifer and Dry-Mesic Pine Landscape Ecosystems. The North Country Trail also runs through this project area.

Management Goals

Aspen clearcuts around deer wintering areas will provide food sources and diversify aspen age classes on the landscape.

The Long Lake Vegetation Management Project is relatively complex, covering several forest types and resource areas. Some of the over-arching goals for this project include: 

  • move the forest ecosystems toward the Forest Plan goals for composition and age class  (increasing white spruce, white pine, and oak, while reducing aspen)
  • diversify black ash stands
  • improve habitat for game species by emphasizing oak management, enhancing habitat in and around deer wintering areas, and increasing areas of mature spruce/fir and pine

Climate Change Impacts

Floodplains and lowlands could experience more flooding under climate change.
For this project, the project planning team identified many important anticipated climate change impacts, including:
Areas of flat topography and large river floodplains in this project area may be prone to flooding with more heavy precipitation events
Earlier snowmelt and wetter springs could combine to extend the "spring breakup" period when roads are closed
There are several large deer yards in the project area. Milder winters could boost deer populations and alter where deer migrate during the winter.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including many that were already built into the Proposed Action:

Pine stands
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Increase in-stand diversity in pine stands, and reserve and promote oak during any harvest.
1.4. Reduce competition for moisture, nutrients, and light.
Thinning is planned for 1,100 acres of red pine, 75 acres of white pine, and 25 acres of white spruce.
Aspen stands
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
Clearcuts on roughly 1200 acres will maintain a young age cohort of aspen across the landscape.
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
9.5. Disfavor species that are distinctly maladapted.
Convert aspen to oak on 83 acres, mixed hardwoods on 63 acres, paper birch on 24 acres, white pine/oak on 125 acres, and white spruce on 189 acres.
Across the project
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
9.2. Establish or encourage new mixes of native species.
Planting white pine, northern red oak, bur oak, hackberry, and bitternut hickory on 765 acres across the project area in suitable stands will

Project Documents

Next Steps

A final decision notice is expected for the Long Lake project sometime in the winter of 2016-2017. Following that, the project will be implemented over the next 10 years. This page will be updated as management occurs.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact Stephen or learn more at:


Lowland/ bottomland hardwoods, Oak, Upland conifers, Upland hardwoods

Last Updated

Tuesday, November 29, 2016