New Station Publications

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Northern Research Station

  1.  GTR-NRS-173.  New England and northern New York forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the New England Climate Change Response Framework project.  Janowiak, Maria K.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Swanston, Christopher W.; Iverson, Louis; Thompson, Frank R.; Dijak, William D.; Matthews, Stephen; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha; Fraser, Jacob S.; Brandt, Leslie A.; Butler-Leopold, Patricia; Handler, Stephen D.; Shannon, P. Danielle; Burbank, Diane; Campbell, John; Cogbill, Charles; Duveneck, Matthew J.; Emery, Marla R.; Fisichelli, Nicholas; Foster, Jane; Hushaw, Jennifer; Kenefic, Laura; Mahaffey, Amanda; Morelli, Toni Lyn; Reo, Nicholas J.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Simmons, K. Rogers; Weiskittel, Aaron; Wilmot, Sandy; Hollinger, David; Lane, Erin; Rustad, Lindsey; Templer, Pamela H.  234p.  

Forest ecosystems will face direct and indirect impacts from a changing climate over the 21st century. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems across the New England region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northern New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) under a range of future climates. We synthesized and summarized information on the contemporary landscape, provided information on past climate trends, and described a range of projected future climates. This information was used to parameterize and run multiple vegetation impact models, which provided a range of potential vegetative responses to climate. Finally, we brought these results before a multidisciplinary panel of scientists and natural resource professionals familiar with the forests of this region to assess ecosystem vulnerability through a formal consensus-based expert elicitation process. Observed trends in climate over the historical record from 1901 through 2011 show that the mean annual temperature has increased across the region by 2.4 °F, with even greater warming during winter. Precipitation patterns also changed during this time, with a slight trend toward greater annual precipitation and a substantial increase in extreme precipitation events. Projected climate trends using downscaled global climate model data indicate a potential increase in mean annual temperature of 3 to 8 °F for the assessment area by 2100. Projections for precipitation indicate an increase in fall and winter precipitation, and spring and summer precipitation projections vary by scenario. We identified potential impacts on forests by incorporating these future climate projections into three forest impact models (DISTRIB, LINKAGES, and LANDIS PRO). Model projections suggest that many northern and boreal species, including balsam fir, red spruce, and black spruce, may fare worse under future conditions, but other species may benefit from projected changes in climate. Published literature on climate impacts related to wildfire, invasive species, and forest pests and diseases also contributed to the overall determination of climate change vulnerability. We assessed vulnerability for eight forest communities in the assessment area. The assessment was conducted through a formal elicitation process with 20 scientists and resource managers from across the area, who considered vulnerability in terms of the potential impacts and the adaptive capacity for an individual community. Montane spruce-fir, low-elevation spruce-fir, and lowland mixed conifer forests were determined to be the most vulnerable communities. Central hardwoods, transition hardwoods, and pitch pine-scrub oak forests were perceived as having lower vulnerability to projected changes in climate. These projected changes in climate and the associated impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent animals and plants, recreation, and long-term natural resource planning.

 

  2.  GTR-NRS-175.  Ten principles for thinking about the future: a primer for environmental professionals.  Bengston, David N.  28p.  

Every decision we make is about the future, but most of us are never taught how to think critically about it. This guide addresses this issue by identifying and reviewing 10 principles for thinking about the future, along with related strategies for improving environmental foresight. The principles and strategies are drawn from the transdisciplinary field of futures studies. Taken together, these principles and strategies can help guide environmental planners, managers, and policy makers toward well-considered expectations for the future.

 

  3.  RB-NRS-113.  Illinois Forests 2015.  Crocker, Susan J.; Butler, Brett J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Riemann, Rachel I.; Smith, James E.; Westfall, James A.; Woodall, Christopher W.  82p.  

The third full annual inventory of Illinois' forests reports more than 4.9 million acres of forest land and 99 tree species. Forest land is dominated by oak/hickory and elm/ash/cottonwood forest types, which make up 92 percent of total forest area. The volume of growing stock on timberland has been rising since 1948 and currently totals 7.0 billion cubic feet. Average annual net growth of growing stock from 2010 to 2015 was about 146.1 million cubic feet per year. This report includes additional information on forest attributes, land-use change, carbon, timber products, and forest health. The following information is available online at https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RB-113: 1) detailed information on forest inventory methods, statistics, and quality assurance of data collection; 2) tables that summarize quality assurance; 3) a core set of tabular estimates for a variety of forest resources; and 4) a Microsoft® Access database that represents an archive of data used in this report, with tools that allow users to produce customized estimates.

 

  4.  RB-NRS-115.  Delaware Forests 2013.  Lister, Tonya W.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lister, Andrew J.; Luppold, William G.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Piva, Ronald J.; Riemann, Rachel I.; Smith, James E.; Westfall, James A.; Widmann, Richard H.; Woodall, Christopher W.  104p.  

This report summarizes the 2013 results of the annualized inventory of Delaware’s forests conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Results are based on data collected from 389 plots located across the State. There are an estimated 362,000 acres of forest land in Delaware with a total live- tree volume of 936 million cubic feet. There has been no change in the area of forest land since 2008, however, live-tree volume in Delaware has been increasing. Forest land is dominated by the oak/hickory forest-type group, which occupies 53 percent of total forest land area. Seventy-four percent of the forest land area is in large diameter stands, 12 percent in medium diameter stands, and 13 percent in small diameter stands. The volume of growing stock on timberland has been rising since the 1950s and currently totals 811 million cubic feet. Between 2008 and 2013, the average annual net growth of growing-stock trees on timberland was approximately 16 million cubic feet per year. Additional information is presented on forest attributes, ownership, carbon, timber products, species composition, regeneration, and forest health. Detailed information on forest inventory methods, data quality estimates, and summary tables of population estimates are available online at https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RB-115.

 

  5.  RP-NRS-30.  Establishment of native species on a natural gas pipeline: the importance of seeding rate, aspect, and species selection.  Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Edwards, Pamela J.; Schuler, Thomas M.  11p.  

With the increase in natural gas production in the United States, land managers need solutions and best practices to mitigate potential negative impacts of forest and soil disturbance and meet landowner objectives and desired conditions. Mitigation often includes the use of native seed mixes for maintaining plant diversity, controlling nonnative invasive species, and erosion control. The area disturbed by installing a buried pipeline to transport natural gas from a gas well near Parsons, WV was used to test the performance of a native seed mix. The seed mix was applied at the recommended seeding rate (56 kg ha-1; 50 lb ac-1) and triple the recommended rate (168 kg ha-1; 150 lb ac-1) to evaluate whether a higher seeding rate would produce greater native establishment and affect tree, weed, and invasive plant colonization. Sowed native grasses and blackberry (Rubus spp.), the latter of which was not part of the seed mix, dominated the pipeline right-of-way (ROW) 3 years after seeding. Mean coverage of these species was more than 68 percent on all the pipeline study plots. Deer-tongue (Dichanthelium clandestinum [L.] Gould) was by far the most successful species in the seed mix (overall mean cover of 33 percent), and it showed much better establishment on the drier southeast-facing hillside (mean cover of 49 percent). Autumn bentgrass (Agrostis perennans [Walter] Tuck.) fared better on the wetter northwest aspect (mean cover of 24 percent). Specific site characteristics or regeneration needs may explain the absence or limited onsite presence of some native species from the seed mix 3 years after sowing. Our results add support to the argument that a ROW project may require a variety of seed mixtures, especially when growing conditions and soil series vary across the project area.

 

Copies still available

  6.  GTR-NRS-172.  How climatic conditions, site, and soil characteristics affect tree growth and critical loads of nitrogen for northeastern tree species.  Robin-Abbott, Molly J.; Pardo, Linda H.  143p.  

Forest health is affected by multiple factors, including topography, climate, and soil characteristics, as well as pests, pathogens, competitive interactions, and anthropogenic deposition. Species within a stand may respond differently to site factors depending on their physiological requirements for growth, survival, and regeneration. We determined optimal ranges of topographic (elevation, aspect, slope gradient), climatic (average temperature for January, July, and May to September; annual and May to September precipitation), and soil (pH, percent clay, percent coarse sand, permeability, depth to bedrock) parameters for 23 tree species of the northeastern United States. We primarily used importance values (a measure of how dominant a species is in a given forest area under existing site conditions) from a published analysis of more than 100,000 U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis plots to set optimal ranges for the abiotic factors. The region included in this assessment is defined by level 2 ecoregions: mixed wood plains in the Eastern Temperate Forest Ecoregion; Atlantic highlands and mixed wood shield in the Northern Forest Ecoregion. In addition to summarizing ranges for abiotic modifying factors, we also determined the critical load of nitrogen—the deposition below which no harmful ecological effects occur—for each species. The information can be used in forest health assessments to determine whether species growth at a site is expected to be optimal or suboptimal, and can also be used to modify critical load ranges for each species based on site conditions.

Data for the species Quercus alba have been added to the graph at the top of page 138, as of January 23, 2018. This data was inadvertently omitted from the original; data for other species did not change.

 

  7.  GTR-NRS-52.  A Guide to nonnative invasive plants inventoried in the north by Forest Inventory and Analysis.  Olson, Cassandra; Cholewa, Anita F.  191p.  

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the U.S. Forest Service is an ongoing endeavor mandated by Congress to determine the extent, condition, volume, growth, and depletions of timber on the Nation's forest land. FIA has responded to a growing demand for other information about our forests including, but not limited to, soils, vegetation, down woody material, and invasive plants. The intent of this guide is to aid FIA field staff in identifying 44 invasive plant species in the 24-state Northern Research Station region (Maine south to Delaware west to Kansas and north to North Dakota). However, this guide can be used by anyone interested in learning about these invasive plants. It contains distribution maps, short descriptions, space for notes, and numerous pictures of each plant.

 

  8.  RB-NRS-112.  Wisconsin Forests 2014.  Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Dahir, Sally E.; Stoltman, Andrew M.; McWilliams, William H.; Butler, Brett J.; Nelson, Mark D.; Morin, Randall S.; Piva, Ronald J.; Herrick, Sarah K.; Lorentz, Laura J.; Guthmiller, Mark; Perry, Charles H.  116p.  

This report summarizes the third annual inventory of Wisconsin’s forests, conducted 2009–2014. Wisconsin’s forests cover 17.1 million acres with 16.6 million acres classified as timberland. Forests are bountiful in the north with Florence, Forest, Menominee, and Vilas Counties having over 90 percent forest cover. In the southeastern part of the State, forest cover is lowest with Dodge, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, and Racine Counties having less than 10 percent forest cover. The sawtimber volume on timberland has been rising and is estimated to be 69.5 billion board feet. Oak/hickory is the predominant forest-type group, covering one-quarter of the forest land. The statewide growth-to-removal ratio on timberland is 2.2, indicating growth is outpacing removals. Additional information on Wisconsin’s forests such as growth, mortality, species composition, ownership, diseases, invasive plant species, and forest economics is detailed in this report. Information on forest inventory methods, data quality estimates, and important resource statistics can be found online at https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RB-112.

 

  9.  GTR-P-NRS-107.  Environmental futures research: experiences, approaches, and opportunities.  Bengston, David N., comp.  79p.  

These papers, presented in a special session at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management in June 2011, explore the transdisciplinary field of futures research and its application to long-range environmental analysis, planning, and policy. Futures research began in the post-World War II era and has emerged as a mature research field. Although the future of complex social-ecological systems cannot be predicted, these papers show how futures research can offer perspectives and methods that help researchers, decisionmakers, and other stakeholders explore alternative futures and gain environmental foresight—insight that can inform decisionmaking on environmental challenges. The second half of the collection applies the methods and approaches of futures research to natural resource management.

 

  10.  GTR-NRS-121.  Horizon scanning for environmental foresight: a review of issues and approaches.  Bengston, David N.  20p.  

Natural resource management organizations carry out a range of activities to examine possible future conditions and trends as part of their planning process, but the distinct approach of formal horizon scanning is often a missing component of strategic thinking and strategy development in these organizations. Horizon scanning is a process for finding and interpreting early indications of change in the external environment of an organization or field. Effective horizon scanning serves as an early warning system to identify potential opportunities and threats, enable decisionmakers to plan accordingly and take timely action, and foster a culture of foresight throughout an organization. This paper reviews and discusses the key items needed to create an effective horizon scanning system: conceptual frameworks, organizational approaches, design principles, techniques to improve effectiveness, and techniques for analyzing and interpreting scanning results.

 

  11.  GTR-NRS-124.  Central Hardwoods ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework project.  Brandt, Leslie; He, Hong; Iverson, Louis; Thompson, Frank R.; Butler, Patricia; Handler, Stephen; Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, P. Danielle; Swanston, Chris; Albrecht, Matthew; Blume-Weaver, Richard; Deizman, Paul; DePuy, John; Dijak, William D.; Dinkel, Gary; Fei, Songlin; Jones-Farrand, D. Todd; Leahy, Michael; Matthews, Stephen; Nelson, Paul; Oberle, Brad; Perez, Judi; Peters, Matthew; Prasad, Anantha; Schneiderman, Jeffrey E.; Shuey, John; Smith, Adam B.; Studyvin, Charles; Tirpak, John M.; Walk, Jeffery W.; Wang, Wen J.; Watts, Laura; Weigel, Dale; Westin, Steve.  254p.  

The forests in the Central Hardwoods Region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of terrestrial ecosystems in the Central Hardwoods Region of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri to a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to assess vulnerability to climate change. Mesic upland forests were determined to be the most vulnerable to projected changes in climate, whereas many systems adapted to fire and drought, such as open woodlands, savannas, and glades, were perceived as less vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-range planning.

 

  12.  GTR-NRS-129.  Michigan forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework project.  Handler, Stephen; Duveneck, Matthew J.; Iverson, Louis; Peters, Emily; Scheller, Robert M.; Wythers, Kirk R.; Brandt, Leslie; Butler, Patricia; Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, P. Danielle; Swanston, Chris; Eagle, Amy Clark; Cohen, Joshua G.; Corner, Rich; Reich, Peter B.; Baker, Tim; Chhin, Sophan; Clark, Eric; Fehringer, David; Fosgitt, Jon; Gries, James; Hall, Christine; Hall, Kimberly R.; Heyd, Robert; Hoving, Christopher L.; Ibáñez, Ines; Kuhr, Don; Matthews, Stephen; Muladore, Jennifer; Nadelhoffer, Knute; Neumann, David; Peters, Matthew; Prasad, Anantha; Sands, Matt; Swaty, Randy; Wonch, Leiloni; Daley, Jad; Davenport, Mae; Emery, Marla R.; Johnson, Gary; Johnson, Lucinda; Neitzel, David; Rissman, Adena; Rittenhouse, Chadwick; Ziel, Robert.  229p.  

Forests in northern Michigan will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate during the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula to a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to draw conclusions on climate change vulnerability. Upland spruce-fir forests were determined to be the most vulnerable, whereas oak associations and barrens were determined to be less vulnerable to projected changes in climate. Projected changes in climate and the associated ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-range planning.

 

  13.  GTR-NRS-146.  Central Appalachians forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Central Appalachians Climate Change Response Framework project.  Butler, Patricia R.; Iverson, Louis; Thompson, Frank R.; Brandt, Leslie; Handler, Stephen; Janowiak, Maria; Shannon, P. Danielle; Swanston, Chris; Karriker, Kent; Bartig, Jarel; Connolly, Stephanie; Dijak, William; Bearer, Scott; Blatt, Steve; Brandon, Andrea; Byers, Elizabeth; Coon, Cheryl; Culbreth, Tim; Daly, Jad; Dorsey, Wade; Ede, David; Euler, Chris; Gillies, Neil; Hix, David M.; Johnson, Catherine; Lyte, Latasha; Matthews, Stephen; McCarthy, Dawn; Minney, Dave; Murphy, Daniel; O’Dea, Claire; Orwan, Rachel; Peters, Matthew; Prasad, Anantha; Randall, Cotton; Reed, Jason; Sandeno, Cynthia; Schuler, Tom; Sneddon, Lesley; Stanley, Bill; Steele, Al; Stout, Susan; Swaty, Randy; Teets, Jason; Tomon, Tim; Vanderhorst, Jim; Whatley, John; Zegre, Nicholas.  310p.  

Forest ecosystems in the Central Appalachians will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the 21st century. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in the Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest-Coniferous Forest-Meadow and Eastern Broadleaf Forest Provinces of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland for a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts on forest ecosystems was considered by a multidisciplinary panel of scientists, land managers, and academics in order to assess ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. Appalachian (hemlock)/northern hardwood forests, large stream floodplain and riparian forests, small stream riparian forests, and spruce/fir forests were determined to be the most vulnerable. Dry/mesic oak forests and dry oak and oak/pine forests and woodlands were determined to be least vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-term natural resource planning.

 

  14.  GTR-NRS-132.  Silvicultural guide for northern hardwoods in the northeast.  Leak, William B.; Yamasaki, Mariko; Holleran, Robbo.  46p.  

This revision of the 1987 silvicultural guide includes updated and expanded silvicultural information on northern hardwoods as well as additional information on wildlife habitat and the management of mixed-wood and northern hardwood-oak stands. The prescription methodology is simpler and more field-oriented. This guide also includes an appendix of familiar tables and charts useful to practicing field foresters. Northern hardwood forest types can be managed as even- or unevenaged stands using a variety of silvicultural practices. In planning these practices, there are many factors to consider including access, species composition, desired regeneration, wildlife habitat needs and environmental concerns. The aim of this document is to provide guidelines to assist the manager in choosing the right methods to meet the landowner objectives consistent with stand conditions.

 

  15.  GTR-NRS-96.  Manual herbicide application methods for managing vegetation in Appalachian hardwood forests.  Kochenderfer, Jeffrey D.; Kochenderfer, James N.; Miller, Gary W.  59p.  

Four manual herbicide application methods are described for use in Appalachian hardwood forests. Stem injection, basal spray, cut-stump, and foliar spray techniques can be used to control interfering vegetation and promote the development of desirable reproduction and valuable crop trees in hardwood forests. Guidelines are presented to help the user select the appropriate technique and herbicide for various forest management goals. Instructions for preparing appropriate herbicide concentrations are also provided. Photos illustrate the various application methods and the tools needed to apply herbicides safely and effectively, depending on the target plants to be controlled.

 

Available Online Only

16.  GTR-NRS-176.  Site productivity and diversity of the Middle Mountain long-term soil productivity study, West Virginia: Pre-experimental site characterization.  Adams, Mary Beth.  24p.  

To better understand the impacts of a changing environment and interactions with forest management options for forest resources, including soil, large long-term experiments are required. Such experiments require careful documentation of reference or pre-experimental conditions. This publication describes the Middle Mountain Long-term Soil Productivity (LTSP) Study, located within the Loop Road Research Area of the Monongahela National Forest, WV. This study was initiated in 1997 and pretreatment soil, vegetation, nutrient cycling, and climatic conditions were carefully documented. The Middle Mountain LTSP Study site is a high elevation site and supports a cherry-maple stand of moderate productivity. There is some variability in soil nutrients and plant diversity across the site prior to the initiation of treatments. This site is generally less diverse than the Fork Mountain LTSP Study site in terms of overstory tree species. Experimental treatments started in 1998, and we continue to monitor this site's response to these treatments.

 

17.  GTR-NRS-178.  Statistics and quality assurance for the Northern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis Program.  Gormanson, Dale D.; Pugh, Scott A.; Barnett, Charles J.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Sowers, Paul A.; Westfall, James A.  25p.  

The U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program collects sample plot data on all forest ownerships across the United States. FIA’s primary objective is to determine the extent, condition, volume, growth, and use of trees on the Nation’s forest land through a comprehensive inventory and analysis of the Nation’s forest resources. The FIA program strives for transparency by making the methods and results of the inventory and analysis available to the public. The standard for distributing FIA data is the FIADatabase (FIADB). FIADB data for individual states can be downloaded from the FIA DataMart at https://www.fia.fs.fed.us/tools-data. This report complements the Northern Research Station’s FIA 5-year state reports and includes detailed information on forest inventory methods, important resource statistics, quality of estimates, and key references.

 

Resource Update

The following publications provide an overview of forest resource attributes for the respective State based on an annual inventory conducted by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program at the Northern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. These are available only online.


RU-FS-136.  Forests of Maryland, 2016.  Lister, Tonya W.  4p.  

RU-FS-145.  Forests of Iowa, 2017.  Nelson, Mark D.; Feeley, Tivon E.  4p.  

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