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11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
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Forest Disturbance Processes

Management of forest ecosystems to sustain desired benefits requires knowledge of how forests change over time in response to natural disturbances and management activities. Disturbances include both stresses and destructive agents; these include invasive species (diseases as well as plant and animal pests); fire; changes in climate and serious weather events such as hurricanes and ice storms; pollution of the air, water, and soil; real estate development of forest lands; and timber harvest. Some of these are caused by humans, in part or entirely, others are not. Some problems may not be obvious, others are painfully so—such as when gypsy moth populations are so large that when GM frass (excrement) falls, it can be heard. Many of these changes can seriously affect the ability of particular fish and wildlife to inhabit wildland ecosystems. NRS scientists are researching many of these disturbance factors in order to understand them better and to develop control or mitigation methods.

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Last Modified: 03/07/2012