Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis for Northern Wisconsin and Western Upper Michigan: A Report from the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project
Forest ecosystems across the Northwoods will face direct and indirect impacts from a changing climate over the 21st century. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province of northern Wisconsin and western Upper Michigan under a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to assess vulnerability to climate change. Upland spruce-fir, lowland conifers, aspen-birch, lowland-riparian hardwoods, and red pine forests were determined to be the most vulnerable ecosystems. White pine and oak forests were perceived as less vulnerable to projected changes in climate. These projected changes in climate and the associated impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-term natural resource planning.