New England Leadership Meeting focuses on forestry

The New England Leadership Meeting (NELM) met Mar. 25-26 at Wentworth by the Sea in Portsmouth, N.H., bringing together conservation leaders from the six New England states. NELM has been meeting annually since the 1960s and is a special occasion for conservation districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to discuss current resource concerns, projects and issues which may be better addressed by working together and learning from each other. This year’s theme was forestry and climate change.

Dr. Lindsey Rusted discussed climate change and its impact on northern forests. Rusted is a research ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service Center for Research on Ecosystem Change in Durham, N.H., and also serves as co-director of the USDA Northeastern Climate Hub and team leader for the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Her presentation, “Changing Climate, Changing Forests,” traced the rise in greenhouse gases and associated changes in climate at global and local scales, and summarized the past, present and potential future impacts of these changes on northeastern forests. “We highlight what we know, don’t know and need to know in order to be proactive instead of reactive in the face of change,” Dr. Rustad said. She also discussed adaptation and mitigation strategies to conserve forest resources.

John Magee, a fish habitat biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, explained how the importance of wood in streams for fish habitat was not very well understood nor communicated. Large wood is a critical aspect of the forest stream ecosystem and, importantly, for the survival of trout that inhabit the streams. NRCS District Conservationist Nels Liljedahl and NRCS State Resource Conservationist Don Keirstead outlined how one resource concern – protecting our native eastern brook trout – evolved into NRCS practices in which forestland owners could participate.

University of Connecticut professor Thomas Worthley presented “Stormwise and Catastrophic Storm Events.” Stormwise is a forest vegetation management program with the goal of reducing the risk of tree-related storm damage to power lines. Implementing proper long-term management practices in woodlands along utility corridors will create healthy, storm resistant and aesthetically pleasing trees and forest stands. The development of Stormwise was initiated by recent catastrophic events in Connecticut and elsewhere in New England.

More than 50 resource professionals attended this year’s New England Leadership Meeting, including NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr (pictured above with NACD Northeast Executive Board Member Linda Brownson).

For more stories like this, check out NACD’s Forestry Notes.

Tags: Forestry Notes, NELM

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