Dynamics of Ozark forests under operational forest management systems: implications for adaptability to projected climate change

by

Matthew G. Olson, John M. Kabrick, Benjamin O. Knapp

Northern Research Station, US Forest Service, University of Missouri-Columbia, 202 ABNR Building, Columbia, Missouri 65211; Department of Forestry, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211

Abstract – Landscape-scale operational forest management is being implemented to meet biodiversity and commodity objectives in oak-dominated forests of the Missouri Ozarks. However, the long-term effects of operational management on Ozark tree communities must be understood to ensure that these practices are sustainable. Furthermore, it is imperative to also consider effects of management within the context of anticipated climate change. This study investigates two-decades of tree community dynamics under alternative operational forest management systems of the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project; a long-term landscape-scale forest management experiment in the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri. We will use species-specific climate change vulnerability ratings to assess the implications of tree community dynamics driven by alternative management practices on the adaptive capacity of managed Ozarks forests under projected climate change.