• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
The Ohio DNR Division of Forestry is implementing adapted management and installing interpretive signs.

Project Area

The Honor Camp Trail is location in Hocking State Forest. This unique area is a popular tourist destination in Ohio with sandstone cliffs and a mix of oak-hickory and eastern hemlock forests. The trail is used for fall color tours and educational events about forest management.

Management Goals

Benefits and services for which the forest is managed include early successional wildlife habitat, forest health, oak-hickory restoration, timber production, and public recreation. The DNR has designed and installed 10 interpretive trail signs that highlight climate vulnerabililty and adaptation actions around a variety of managment topics, including Best Management Practices, fall colors, forest succession, forest fire, hemlock forest, invasive species, shelterwood treatment, thinning treatment, and tree planting. This project was supported by the Forest Service Northern Research Station and Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, and the signs include QR codes linking to the Climate Change Tree Atlas and information about the Honor Camp trail adaptation demonstration. Download the pdf for full sign text

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
More frequent heavy precipitation events may lead to trail erosion and increased damage to trail from hiker traffic.
Growing seasons will continue to get longer as Spring arrives earlier and Fall sets in later.
Warmer summer temperatures are expected to drive drier soil conditions late in the growing season, increasing the risk of drought.
Declines are projected for common mesic species, including eastern hemlock, chestnut oak, black cherry, sugar maple, and tulip poplar.
Increases in pests and pathogens will exacerbate current forest health problems like hemlock woolly adelgid and potential gypsy moth invasions.
Increases in nonnative species will increase competition and disrupt native ecosystems.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:

Challenges

Increased rain/heavy rain events could result in muddy trails and erosion.
Hemlock trees are a keystone species, and its decline would dramatically affect the function and aesthetic of the area.
Temperature and moisture variability influences the intensity of fall colors, and a late spring or summer drought can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks, making it more difficult to schedule public events.
Birds may be vulnerable to increasing temperatures, storms, and changes in growing season length.
Uncertainty of invasive species response to changing climate makes managing difficult.

Opportunities

Dry spells could work in favor of maintaining solid trial conditions.
Introduction of southern species may create new aesthetic.
Butternut and American chestnuts are cross-bred to be disease-resistant and could be included in native planting.
Models show potential increase in oak habitat, and oak regeneration efforts may benefit from the decline of mesic species.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Area/Topic
Approach
Tactics
Forest Health
Plant seeds from southern locations of species projected to do well in changing climate.
Take advantage of earlier spring conditions or late fall conditions for increasing prescribed burn opportunities in the oak stands.
Herbicide treatments on select species such as barberry, privet, autumn olive.
Encourage better- adapted species already growing (oaks and hickories) in the understory of the 2-aged stand by removing undesirable competitors.
Treat and monitor HWA in area.

Monitoring

Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Eastern hemlock health
Success of southern and future-adapted tree species
Trail conditions

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact
Patricia
.

Keywords

Fire and fuels
Recreation