Management for the formerly federally-endangered Kirtland’s warbler has emphasized 50-year rotations for jack pine plantations in northern Lower Michigan but changing markets and recent research have suggested that novel silvicultural systems may be necessary to make this system economically viable. Recent research has suggested that shorter rotations may be equally useful for pulpwood and biomass, and thus short-rotation harvests of jack pine plantations in the northern Lake States has the potential to provide adequate breeding warbler habitat while also providing additional ecosystem services from both ecological and economic perspectives. We conducted a GIS analysis that identified suitable areas for such rotations on public lands located with the USGS Protected Areas Database and within an 80-km radius from biomass-fired power plants. To address likely northward movement of breeding warblers with climate change and continued warbler population expansion, we extrapolated these novel silvicultural systems to the broader northern Lake States using site factors including site index, soil drainage index, and productivity index. We used these indices as input factors in the USDA-FS Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to predict and quantify suitable KW habitat and the production of biomass fuels and to compare short rotation harvests to BAU and extended rotation models. Preliminary results suggest that altering rotation length may affect the size of the management footprint even when managing for multiple ecosystem services.
Additional Contributors: Dr. Daniel M. Kashian