New Station Publications

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Northern Research Station

  1.  GTR-NRS-87-2.  Forest Adaptation Resources: climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd edition.  Swanston, Christopher W.; Janowiak, Maria K.; Brandt, Leslie A.; Butler, Patricia R.; Handler, Stephen D.; Shannon, P. Danielle; Derby Lewis, Abigail; Hall, Kimberly; Fahey, Robert T.; Scott, Lydia; Kerber, Angela; Miesbauer, Jason W.; Darling, Lindsay; Parker, Linda; St. Pierre, Matt.  161p.  

Forests across the United States are expected to undergo numerous changes in response to the changing climate. This second edition of the Forest Adaptation Resources provides a collection of resources designed to help forest managers incorporate climate change considerations into management and devise adaptation tactics. It was developed as part of the Climate Change Response Framework and reflects the expertise, creativity, and feedback of dozens of direct contributors and hundreds of users of the first edition over the last several years (see Six interrelated chapters include: (1) a description of the overarching Climate Change Response Framework, which generated these resources; (2) a brief guide to help forest managers judge or initiate vulnerability assessments; (3) a "menu" of adaptation strategies and approaches that are directly relevant to forests of the Northeast and upper Midwest; (4) a second menu of adaptation strategies and approaches oriented to urban forests; (5) a workbook process with step-by-step instructions to assist land managers in developing on-the-ground climate adaptation tactics that address their management objectives; and (6) several real-world examples of how these resources have been used to develop adaptation tactics. The ideas, tools, and resources presented in the different chapters are intended to inform and support existing decisionmaking processes of multiple organizations with diverse management goals.

The list of authors and citation for this publication were revised on November 15, 2018.


  2.  GTR-NRS-159.  Analysis of long-term forest bird monitoring data from national forests of the western Great Lakes Region.  Niemi, Gerald J.; Howe, Robert W.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Parker, Linda R.; Grinde, Alexis R.; Danz, Nicholas P.; Nelson, Mark D.; Zlonis, Edmund J.; Walton, Nicholas G.; Gnass Giese, Erin E.; Lietz, Sue M.  322p.  

Breeding bird communities in forests of the western Great Lakes region are among the most diverse in North America, but the forest environment in this region has changed dramatically during the past 150 years. To address concerns about loss of biodiversity due to ongoing forest harvesting and to better inform forest planning, researchers have systematically monitored forest birds in the region for more than two decades. This report summarizes forest bird data collected from 1995 through 2011 in four national forests of the western Great Lakes region (the Chequamegon and Nicolet in Wisconsin and the Chippewa and Superior in Minnesota). Of 187 bird species detected, 127 nest in forest or woodland habitats. Population trends were evaluated by national forest for 98 of the forest bird species, and across all 4 national forests for 49 species. Numbers of most species were stable or increased within and across the national forests during these 17 years. Habitat analyses are presented for 123 forest bird species and are discussed in the context of concurrent trends in climate, land cover, disturbance, and forest structure. Results suggest that different migratory guilds showed different responses to the regional warming during this period. Eight species that were in decline or otherwise of special concern were selected to demonstrate how knowledge gained from analysis of their populations, habitat, and life history could supplement current literature to inform regional conservation management. Ways to improve or optimize the bird monitoring methods are suggested. This report is the most comprehensive compilation to date of quantitative information on the population trends, habitat use, and community assemblages of forest breeding birds of this region.


  3.  GTR-NRS-160.  Landscape-fire relationships inferred from bearing trees in Minnesota.  Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Nowacki, Gregory J.  32p.  

We display the influence of pre-European settlement fire on vegetation across Minnesota by harnessing the power of bearing trees as indicators of past fires on the landscape. Species and genera of trees used as bearing trees in Public Land Surveys were categorized as either pyrophilic (fire-adapted) or pyrophobic (fire-sensitive) and the percentage of pyrophilic trees was calculated and interpolated to create a map showing the inferred importance of fire. Ecological units at four spatial scales (province, section, subsection, and landtype association) were examined against our pyrophilic percentage maps, irregularities noted, and line improvements suggested based on the prevailing fire setting (the set of vegetation and topographic conditions under which fires occur or are inhibited) before European settlement. Our maps and analyses for Minnesota, the Chippewa National Forest, and the Superior National Forest provide a strong ecological basis for locating areas where long-term burning left an indelible mark on plant composition, structure, and biodiversity and thus where prescribed burning for ecosystem restoration is most appropriate today.


  4.  GTR-NRS-164.  Seeing the future impacts of climate change and forest management: a landscape visualization system for forest managers.  Gustafson, Eric J.; Lucash, Melissa; Liem, Johannes; Jenny, Helen; Scheller, Rob; Barrett, Kelly; Sturtevant, Brian R.  18p.  

Forest managers are increasingly considering how climate change may alter forests' capacity to provide ecosystem goods and services. But identifying potential climate change effects on forests is difficult because interactions among forest growth and mortality, climate change, management, and disturbances are complex and uncertain. Although forest landscape models can account for most factors that structure forest landscapes (including climate change), the sometimes overwhelming amount of output from these models can make it hard for some managers to interpret and understand the projections. In an effort to help managers visualize and analyze model output, we developed an intuitive Web-based system: LandViz. We applied LandViz in a collaborative, iterative approach to conduct a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota using the LANDIS-II landscape model. LandViz enhanced managers' collaboration with model experts and increased their understanding of the tradeoffs between amounts and types of various resources in a changing climate. Managers can use the insight gained from LandViz to inform their strategic and tactical planning as they manage these tradeoffs.


  5.  RB-NRS-102.  Iowa Forests, 2013.  Nelson, Mark D.; Barnett, Charles J.; Brewer, Matt; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Domke, Grant M.; Gormanson, Dale D.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lister, Tonya W.; Matthews, Stephen; McWilliams, William H.; Meneguzzo, Dacia M.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Piva, Ronald J.; Riemann, Rachel; Smith, James E.; Walters, Brian F.; Westfall, Jim; Woodall, Christopher W.  124p.  

The third full annual inventory of Iowa's forests (2009-2013) indicates that just under 3 million acres of forest land exists in the State, 81 percent of which is in family forest ownership. Almost all of Iowa's forest land is timberland (96 percent), with an average volume of more than 1,000 cubic feet of growing stock per acre on timberland and more than 1,500 cubic feet of all live volume (for trees at least 5 inches diameter at breast height) per acre on timberland. American elm and eastern hophornbeam are the most numerous tree species, but bur oak and silver maple predominate in terms of live-tree volume. Iowa's forest land is composed of 70 percent sawtimber, 17 percent poletimber, and 13 percent sapling/seedling or nonstocked size classes. Average annual net growth of growing-stock trees on Iowa’s timberland decreased during the past decade to the current estimate of 71 million cubic feet. This report includes additional information on forest attributes, land-use change, carbon, timber products, wildlife habitat, forest health, and future projections. The following information is available online at 1) descriptive information on methods, statistics, and quality assurance of data collection, 2) a glossary of terms, 3) tables that summarize quality assurance, 4) a core set of tabular estimates for a variety of forest resources, and 5) a Microsoft® Access database that represents an archive of data used in this report, with tools that allow users to produce customized estimates.


  6.  RB-NRS-103.  Maine Forests 2013.  McCaskill, George L.; Albright, Thomas; Barnett, Charles J.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Widmann, Richard H.; Woodall, Christopher W.  103p.  

The third 5-year annualized inventory of Maine's forests was completed in 2013 after more than 3170 forested plots were measured. Maine contains more than 17.6 million acres of forest land, an area that has been quite stable since 1960, covering more than 82 percent of the total land area. The number of live trees greater than 1 inch in diameter are approaching 24.5 billion trees. Aboveground biomass of all live trees has increased slightly since 2008. Over the same period, the average annual volume for tree growth has increased 30 percent and tree mortality has decreased 15 percent. Tree harvest levels have remained flat since 2008.This report also includes detailed information on forest inventory methods and the quality of the estimates found in five tables (Tables A-E). A complete set of data tables and other resources can be found at


  7.  RB-NRS-104.  Minnesota Forests 2013.  Miles, Patrick D.; VanderSchaaf, Curtis L.; Barnett, Charles; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Gormanson, Dale D.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lister, Tonya W.; McWilliams, William H.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Perry, Charles H. (Hobie); Riemann, Rachel I.; Smith, James E.; Walters, Brian F.; Westfall, Jim; Woodall, Christopher W.  134p.  

The third full annual inventory of Minnesota forests reports 17.4 million acres of forest land with an average live tree volume of 1,096 cubic feet per acre. Forest land is dominated by the aspen forest type, which occupies 29 percent of the total forest land area. Twenty-eight percent of forest land consists of sawtimber, 35 percent poletimber, 36 percent sapling/seedlings, and 1 percent is nonstocked. The average annual net growth of live trees on forest land is approximately 398 million cubic feet per year while average annual removals are only 207 million cubic feet per year. Additional forest attribute and forest health information is presented, along with information on agents of change including changing land use patterns and the introduction of nonnative plants, insects, and disease. Information from the Private Woodland Owner and Timber Products Output surveys is included along with 50-year projections from the Northern Forest Futures study. Detailed information on forest inventory methods, data quality estimates, and important resource statistics are available online at


  8.  RB-NRS-105.  West Virginia Forests 2013.  Morin, Randall S.; Cook, Gregory W.; Barnett, Charles J.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Hatfield, Mark A.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lister, Tonya W.; Luppold, William G.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Nelson, Mark D.; Perry, Charles H. (Hobie); Piva, Ronald J.; Smith, James E.; Westfall, Jim; Widmann, Richard H.; Woodall, Christopher W.  128p.  

The annual inventory of West Virginia's forests, completed in 2013, covers nearly 12.2 million acres of forest land with an average volume of more than 2,300 cubic feet per acre. This report is based data collected from 2,808 plots located across the State. Forest land is dominated by the oak/hickory forest-type group, which occupies 74 percent of total forest land area. Seventy-eight percent of forest land area consists of a plurality of large diameter trees, 15 percent contains medium diameter trees, and 7 percent contains small diameter trees. The volume of growing stock on timberland has been rising since the 1950s and currently totals over 25 billion cubic feet. The average annual net growth of growing-stock trees on timberland from 2008 to 2013 is approximately 519 million cubic feet per year. Important species compositional changes include increases in sapling numbers of yellow-poplar, American beech, and noncommercial species, which coincide with decreases in numbers of trees and saplings of oak species. Additional information is presented on forest attributes, land use change, 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 at


Copies still available

  9.  GTR-P-NRS-102.  Proceedings of the 4th fire in eastern oak forests conference.  Dey, Daniel C.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Clark, Stacy L.; Schweitzer, Callie J., eds.  292p.  

Contains 14 full-length papers and 40 abstracts of posters that were presented at the 4th Fire in Eastern Oak Forests conference, held in Springfield, MO, May 17-19, 2011. The conference was attended by over 250 people from 65 different organizations and entities, representing 22 states and 1 Canadian province.


  10.  GTR-NRS-137.  Islands on the edge: housing development and other threats to America's Pacific and Caribbean Island forests: a Forests on the Edge report.  Stein, Susan M.; Carr, Mary A.; Liknes, Greg C.; Comas, Sara J.  55p.  

This report provides an overview of expected housing density changes and related impacts to private forests on America's islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, specifically Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We discuss the vulnerability of island forests to conversion for housing development, introduction and spread of invasive species, and risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, among other concerns. Our maps and projections suggest that in localized areas from 3 to 25 percent of private forest land is likely to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030. Resource managers, developers, community leaders, and landowners should consider the impacts of housing development and invasive species on ecosystem services in coming decades.


  11.  GTR-NRS-152.  Wildland fire management futures: insights from a foresight panel.  Olson, Robert L.; Bengston, David N.; DeVaney, Leif A.; Thompson, Trevor A.C.  44p.  

Wildland fire management faces unprecedented challenges in the 21st century: the increasingly apparent effects of climate change, more people and structures in the wildland-urban interface, growing costs associated with wildfire management, and the rise of high-impact fires, to name a few. Given these significant and growing challenges, conventional fire management approaches are unlikely to be effective in the future. Innovative and forward-looking approaches are needed. This study explored wildland fire management futures by using methods and diverse perspectives from futures research. To gain foresight for wildland fire management, we convened a foresight panel consisting of seven leading academic and professional futurists outside of the wildfire community and two wildfire professionals. We engaged the panelists in a series of structured online discussions to elicit their insights and perspectives on the future of wildland fire management. There are five broad areas where the foresight panel members were in full agreement. (1) The level of uncertainty about external developments and future conditions that will set the context for wildland fire management is significantly greater than is recognized in current planning. (2) As conditions change, the traditional fire prevention and suppression approach to wildfire management will prove unsustainable. (3) A new fire resilience approach is emerging as an alternative to traditional viewpoints and practices. (4) All the major strategies needed to implement this approach are already familiar to wildfire managers. (5) There are strong short-term barriers to adopting the fire resilience approach, but the panelists believe its adoption is nearly inevitable between now and mid-century.


Available Online Only

12.  GTR-NRS-161.  The Moquah Barrens Research Natural Area: Loss of a pine barrens ecosystem.  Ribic, Christine A.; Rugg, David J.; Donner, Deahn M.; Beck, Albert J.; Byers, BJ.  25p.  

The Moquah Barrens Research Natural Area (RNA) was established by the Chequamegon National Forest and the Lakes States Forest Experiment Station in 1935 with a research objective well-suited to the needs of the Forest Service and the scientific understanding of ecosystem function prevalent at the time of establishment. The original research plan was never implemented, which led to a joint Forest-Station decision in 1956 to disestablish the RNA. However, that decision was never implemented. A series of management decisions made after 1956 led to the loss of the pine barrens ecosystem originally encompassed by the RNA. This loss is not irretrievable and the work necessary to recover the original ecosystem is possible under existing RNA management guidelines. The experience of the Moquah Barrens RNA can be used by the Forest Service to improve overall management of the entire system of research natural areas. Two main areas of opportunity are identified: 1) implement an improved approach to managing official records associated with RNAs; and 2) adopt a management framework suitable for long-term ecological projects.


13.  GTR-NRS-162.  Mapping the occurrence of tree damage in the forests of the northern United States.  Morin, Randall S.; Pugh, Scott A.; Steinman, Jim.  19p.  

The U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program uses visual inspections of trees from bottom to top to record damage that is likely to prevent survival, reduce growth, or hinder capability to produce marketable products. This report describes the types of damage and occurrence as measured across the 24-state northern region between 2009 and 2013. Descriptive statistics and spatial occurrence maps are presented by genus, species, and state. Inter- and intra-species variation, as well as biotic and abiotic disturbance agents, are issues that should be considered while analyzing and interpreting data from damage indicators.


14.  GTR-NRS-157.  USDA Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey, 2011-2013: design, implementation, and estimation methods.  Butler, Brett J.; Dickinson, Brenton J.; Hewes, Jaketon H.; Butler, Sarah M.; Andrejczyk, Kyle; Markowski-Lindsay, Marla.  43p.  

The National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) is conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program to increase the understanding of the attitudes, behaviors, and demographics of private forest and woodland ownerships across the United States. The information is intended to help policy makers, resource managers, educators, service providers, and others interested in the forest and woodland resources of the United States better understand the social context of these lands in order to facilitate more informed opinions and decisions. This report describes the design, implementation, and analysis of data for the NWOS implemented from 2011 through 2013. The NWOS is concerned with three non-overlapping populations of interest: family, corporate, and other private. To simplify the discussion, the focus of this report is on family forest and woodland ownerships, but identical methods were used for the other populations of interest. Results from this research are being published separately. For additional information visit: See also


15.  RB-NRS-101.  Minnesota timber industry: an assessment of timber product output and use, 2010.  Walters, Brian F.; Vongroven, Steve; Piva, Ronald J.  75p.  

In 2010, there were 417 active primary wood-using mills in Minnesota. These mills processed 238.8 million cubic feet of industrial roundwood. There was 226.1 million cubic feet of industrial roundwood harvested from Minnesota forests. The majority of roundwood harvested was pulpwood, accounting for 61 percent of the total. The harvesting of industrial roundwood products generated 110.6 million cubic feet of harvest residues. Primary wood-processing mills generated 1.5 million green tons of mill residues.


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-82.  Forests of South Dakota, 2015.  Walters, Brian F.  4p.  

RU-FS-83.  Forests of Connecticut, 2015.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-84.  Forests of Kansas, 2015.  Meneguzzo, Dacia M.  5p.  

RU-FS-85.  Forests of Illinois, 2015.  Crocker, Susan; Butler, Brett.  4p.  

RU-FS-86.  Forests of Maine, 2015.  Huff, Emily S.; McWilliams, William H.  4p.  

RU-FS-87.  Forests of Wisconsin, 2015.  Perry, Charles H.  4p.  

RU-FS-88.  Forests of Indiana, 2015.  Gormanson, Dale D.  4p.  

RU-FS-89.  Forests of Massachusetts, 2015.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-90.  Forests of Rhode Island, 2015.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-92.  Forests of Pennsylvania, 2015.  Widmann, Richard H.  4p.  

RU-FS-93.  Forests of West Virginia, 2015.  Morin, Randall S.  1p.  

RU-FS-96.  Forests of New York, 2015.  Widmann, Richard H.  4p.  

RU-FS-97.  Forests of Ohio, 2015.  Widmann, Richard H.  4p.  

RU-FS-98.  Forests of New Jersey, 2015.  Crocker, Susan J.; Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-99.  Forests of Maryland, 2015.  Lister, Tonya; Widmann, Richard.  4p.  

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