Enhanced Migration of Trees – Climate Adaptation on Tribal Forest Lands

Eric Hemenway

This fall, Nature Change visited the Little Traverse Bay Bands (LTBB) of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs. We were there to ask about a new effort to diversify forest holdings through enhanced migration of tree species.

In this video, the tribe’s archivist and historian, Eric Hemenway explains that the natural resources have been critically important to his people from the very beginning. Hemenway says, “The identity of the Odawa from this area is tied to trees.”

Natural Resource Department Director, Doug Craven describes the Ziibimijwang Farm as a large, old farm property purchased by the LTBB about five years ago in northern Emmet County. Explaining what Ziibimijwang means, Craven says that a portion of the farm is dedicated to producing fresh food. Other parts of the farm are dedicated to forestry, fish and wildlife management. 

Doug Craven

As Craven explains, it’s important that this property and other natural resource holdings of the tribe are managed for future generations. With the seven generations in mind, he says the tribe has begun climate adaptation planning.

As the tribe’s Conservationist, Noah Jansen has helped to develop and apply a forest management plan that includes efforts to adapt to a changing climate. Specifically, the LTBB has begun planting trees that are not commonly found in Northern Michigan, anticipating likely growing conditions in the coming decades.

Noah Jansen

Jansen explains that climate conditions are changing faster than plants and trees can migrate on their own. Applying the concept of enhanced migration, the LTTB is bringing selected southern Michigan tree species north as a common sense move toward greater forest diversity in the face of climate change.

Please watch this video to hear directly from these dedicated professionals.


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