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Title: Effects of natural gas development on forest ecosystems

Author: Adams, Mary Beth; Ford, W. Mark; Schuler, Thomas M.; Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa.

Year: 2011

Publication: In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 219-226.

Abstract: In 2004, an energy company leased the privately owned minerals that underlie the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia. The Fernow, established in 1934, is dedicated to long-term research. In 2008, a natural gas well was drilled on the Fernow and a pipeline and supporting infrastructure constructed. We describe the impacts of natural gas development on the natural resources of the Fernow, and develop recommendations for landowners and land managers based on our experiences. Some of the effects (forest clearing, erosion, road damage) were expected and predictable, and some were unexpected (vegetation death from land application of fluids, an apparent increase in white-tailed deer presence). Although this is a case study, and therefore the results and conclusions are not applicable to all hardwood forests, information about gas development impacts is sufficiently rare that forest managers, research scientists, and the concerned public can learn from our experience.

Last Modified: 6/15/2011

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