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Northern Research Station Research Highlights
From the Station Director
Through leading-edge research, Northern Research Station scientists are finding answers and developing solutions for people and the landscapes they live in. America’s forests and rangelands constitute a major national strategic asset that provides social, ecological, and economic benefits. We pursue innovative ways to protect these vital natural resources for the benefit of all. The work of the Northern Research Station and all Forest Service research stations across the country contributes to making forests healthier and more resilient and improving people’s lives.
Forest Service science touches almost everyone, every day. This year, Northern Research Station scientists helped convert the world’s largest landfill into a park and cultural destination in New York City. They helped ensure the environmental health and good water quality of the agricultural landscapes that feed us. Our snapshot of regional forest conditions and trends highlighted the importance and sustainability of forests in the Northeast and Midwest, which constitute 42 percent of the total land area.
Forest Service science makes land management decisions go from “good to great.” This year, our researchers successfully predicted forest mortality caused by drought, helping Wisconsin forest managers anticipate effects on forest composition. An online tool created by our researchers helped civic environmental stewardship groups accomplish more cohesive and comprehensive urban natural resource management. A management guide for northern white-cedar gave New England foresters better guidance for managing this commercially important but little-studied species.
Forest Service Research and Development exists to support the restoration and conservation of landscapes, both urban and rural. This year, our researchers developed a means for predicting fire frequency anywhere in the country—a key piece of knowledge for land managers restoring ecosystems. After being nearly extirpated throughout North America, American chestnut trees returned to the forests of southern Ohio and Indiana, thanks to our trial plantings. Our analysis alerted city and regional planners to a decline in urban tree cover—4 million trees annually—and the need for better monitoring and management of urban forests.
The following pages capture just a few of the ways that the Northern Research Station made a difference for the nation and its forests in 2012. I am proud of what we accomplished and look forward to continuing that service in the coming year.
--Michael T. Rains