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Your Forest in a Changing Climate

Climate Adaptation Project Case Study

McCrea Farms, owned by Jim McCrea and his daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Bruce Colpitts, has belonged to the family for 80 years.


The PID the case study is located on consists of 300 acres, but their total woodlot is over 5000 acres. They use the woodlot for timber harvesting, firewood, farmland, and tourism trails.

Site description

 Site conditions:

Ground conditions: 

History of site:

  • stand age = 42 years (in 2021)

  • 75% crown closure

  • Abundant balsam fir regeneration

  • Spruce is scattered

  • Mossy

  • Heavily shaded

  • Occasional rockiness

The land was farmed in the past but has been managed for a mixture of values: farming, recreation, hunting, tourism trails, maple syrup, firewood and timber.  The area the case study site is located was pre-commercially thinned in early 1990’s.

Owners survey


What has the woodlot been used for in the past (e.g. timber harvesting, firewood, farmland, been left wild and free)?


Timber harvesting, firewood, farmland and tourism trails.


What are your short-term goals for your woodlot (next 7 years)? / What are your mid-term goals for your woodlot (7–35 years)? 

Capture fir mortality and generate revenue while keeping other goals and objectives, like wildlife and tourism, in mind.

What are your long-term goals for your woodlot (35+ years)? 

Maintain a sustainable source of income.


Have you previously taken your woodlot’s ability to adapt to future changing climate conditions into consideration?


Partially.  We have been trying to capture fir mortality for over 5 years.

Are you currently aware of what future modelling shows for NB’s climate conditions?


Aware of some of the impacts; decrease in fir, maybe better for some hardwood.

Do you think your woodlot will be resilient to NB’s changing climate conditions?  Why?


Not without some different practices.  I think with time and consideration of different harvesting and silviculture we could put ourselves in a better position.  There is a lot of land to keep up with the fir that is dying so we will not be successful everywhere, but will prioritize the woodlot, taking into account all of our objectives.

Sample plot area implementation

Species summary pre-treatment


Size of sample plots

FARM_plot size.jpg

Species summary post-treatment

Treatments implemented by plot

Traditional treatment:
Remove all balsam fir retaining spruce where possible.

To provide improved growing conditions to allow the spruce to develop into higher quality products such as sawlogs. 

Climate adaptive treatment:
Remove all balsam fir, retaining spruce where possible, keeping in mind possibility of wind creating blowdowns.  (Note:  the original recommendation was to remove the spruce as well due to risk of strong winds blowing over the shallow-rooted spruce trees once the balsam fir is removed, however, the owner decided to keep them for now).  In early fall the area will be dragged to disturb mineral soil to create favourable seedbeds for spruce regeneration.  To create species diversity, fill planting with white pine (observed in the area), maple or seeding with acorns or other species will follow.


To restore diversity to the site and minimize the balsam fir content.

Outcomes and monitoring progress

This section will be updated each time a site visit is made to measure the updated volumes and site conditions. The first anticipated update will be in fall of 2022, and then every five years afterwards.

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