New Station Publications

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Northern Research Station

  1.  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.

Graphs for importance values versus climate and soil parameters for Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, and Thuja occidentalis were added to Appendix 1 on November 28, 2018. Graphs for these species were inadvertently omitted from the original.


  2.  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.


  3.  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


Copies still available

  4.  GTR-NRS-169.  The Forestry Reclamation Approach: guide to successful reforestation of mined lands.  Adams, Mary Beth.  128p.  

Appalachian forests are among the most productive and diverse in the world. The land underlying them is also rich in coal, and surface mines operated on more than 2.4 million acres in the region from 1977, when the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act was passed, through 2015. Many efforts to reclaim mined lands most often resulted in the establishment of grasses, shrubs, and nonnative plants. Research showed that forests could be returned to these mined lands, also restoring the potential for the land to provide forest ecosystem services and goods. Scientists and practitioners developed a set of science-based best management practices for mine reforestation called the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA). To help practitioners implement the 5 steps of the FRA and achieve other restoration goals (such as wildlife enhancement), 13 Forest Reclamation Advisories have been written since 2005 and others are underway. The 12 Advisories that are most directly relevant to the Appalachian region are being published here in a single volume for the first time. These Advisories were originally posted on the Web site of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI), an organization created in 2004 by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement along with State mining regulatory authorities in the Appalachian region. Members of ARRI come from the coal mining industry, government agencies, and research institutions. The goal of this initiative is to promote forest reclamation and restoration on mine lands through planting of high-value hardwood trees, increasing those trees’ survival rates and growth, and speeding the establishment of forest habitat through natural succession. To accomplish these goals, ARRI promotes and encourages use of the FRA by reclamation specialists. The Advisories are intended to serve as easy-to-understand guides to implementing the FRA; they provide specific recommendations as well as illustrations and photos to demonstrate tasks. The reformatted Advisories in this volume contain updated information and the latest additional resources to guide reclamation practitioners and other stakeholders in the reestablishment of healthy, productive forests in the Appalachian region.


  5.  GTR-NRS-170.  Assessment and valuation of forest ecosystem services: State of the science review.  Binder, Seth; Haight, Robert G.; Polasky, Stephen; Warziniack, Travis; Mockrin, Miranda H.; Deal, Robert L.; Arthaud, Greg.  47p.  

This review focuses on the assessment and economic valuation of ecosystem services from forest ecosystems—that is, our ability to predict changes in the quantity and value of ecosystem services as a result of specific forest management decisions. It is aimed at forest economists and managers and intended to provide a useful reference to those interested in developing the practice of integrated forest modeling and valuation. We review examples of ecosystem services associated with several broad classes of potentially competing forest uses—production of timber, sequestration of carbon, regulation of the quality and quantity of water, provision of residential and recreational amenities, and protection of endangered species. For each example considered, we briefly describe what is known about ecological production functions and economic benefits functions. We also highlight the challenges and best practices in the creation and use of this knowledge. In the final section, we discuss the process, strengths, pitfalls, and limitations of utilizing integrated models for benefit-cost analysis of proposed forest management activities.


  6.  GTR-NRS-171.  Site-specific critical acid load estimates for forest soils in the Osborn Creek watershed, Michigan.  Hobbs, Trevor; Lynch, Jason; Kolka, Randy.  49p.  

Anthropogenic acid deposition has the potential to accelerate leaching of soil cations, and in turn, deplete nutrients essential to forest vegetation. The critical load concept, employing a simple mass balance (SMB) approach, is often used to model this process. In an evaluation under the U.S. Forest Service Watershed Condition Framework program, soils in all 6th level watersheds on the Huron-Manistee National Forests (HMNF) in Michigan were assigned the lowest score of "3—Impaired Function" due to exceedance of the critical load of acidity as determined by national-scale estimates. The impetus for this research was to test the relevance of national-scale critical acid load estimates at the 6th level watershed scale by using site-specific field data in the SMB model where possible. The Osborn Creek watershed on the HMNF served as a case study. Field data were collected to estimate soil mineral weathering rates, nutrient uptake rates, and forest growth characteristics at five sites containing sandy, nutrient-poor soils. Critical acid loads and exceedances were developed under "best" and "worst" case scenarios given the uncertainty in the SMB model. Despite the high likelihood of actual exceedance and some evidence for soil acidification across the watershed, base saturation remains excessively high (>100 percent) at most sites. Other field data suggest that these soils receive significant external inputs of base cations that may outweigh what is produced through weathering onsite within the rooting zone. Trees show no visible signs of decline. Overall, the SMB approach may not adequately capture the complexity of nutrient cycling at all of the sample sites. The variability of soils, weathering estimates, and nutrient uptake rates between and within sites makes extrapolation of these results to other HMNF watersheds difficult to justify. Management programs aimed at improving our understanding of base cycling in complex glacial terrain, as well as mitigating the risks associated with nutrient depletion from frequent timber harvests and fuels reduction practices, are suggested.


  7.  GTR-NRS-109.  An assessment of invasive plant species monitored by the Northern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, 2005 through 2010.  Kurtz, Cassandra M.  70p.  

Invasive plant species are a worldwide concern due to the high ecological and economic costs associated with their presence. This document describes the plant characteristics and regional distribution of the 50 invasive plant species monitored from 2005 through 2010 on forested Phase 2 (P2) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots in the 24 states of the Northern Research Station. Genus level data for nonnative bush honeysuckles (Lonicera species) are included from 2005 through 2006. The data are from plots that are monitored in forested areas for public and private ownership classes.


  8.  GTR-NRS-104.  Research perspectives on the public and fire management: a synthesis of current social science on eight essential questions.  McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Olsen, Christine S.  40p.  

As part of a Joint Fire Science Program project, a team of social scientists reviewed existing fire social science literature to develop a targeted synthesis of scientific knowledge on the following questions: 1. What is the public's understanding of fire's role in the ecosystem? 2. Who are trusted sources of information about fire? 3. What are the public's views of fuels reduction methods, and how do those views vary depending on citizens' location in the wildland-urban interface or elsewhere? 4. What is the public's understanding of smoke effects on human health, and what shapes the public's tolerance for smoke? 5. What are homeowners' views of their responsibilities for home and property protection and mitigation, e.g., defensible space measures? 6. What role does human health and safety play in the public's perceptions of fire and fire management? 7. What are the public's views on the role and importance of costs in wildfire incident response decisions? 8. To the extent that information is available, how do findings differ among ethnic and cultural groups, and across regions of the country?


  9.  GTR-NRS-80.  Assessment of Nitrogen deposition effects and empirical critical loads of Nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States.  Pardo, L.H.; Robin-Abbott, M.J.; Driscoll, C.T., eds.  291p.  

This report synthesizes current research relating atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition to effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the United States and to identify empirical critical loads for atmospheric N deposition. The report evaluates the following receptors: freshwater diatoms, mycorrhizal fungi and other soil microbes, lichens, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. The main responses reported fell into two categories: (1) biogeochemical; and (2) individual species, population, and community responses. The range of critical loads for nutrient N reported for U.S. ecoregions, inland surface waters, and freshwater wetlands is 1 to 39 kg N ha-1 y-1. This range spans the range of N deposition observed over most of the country. The empirical critical loads for N tend to increase in the following sequence for different life forms: diatoms, lichens and bryophytes, mycorrhizal fungi, herbaceous plants and shrubs, trees.


  10.  RB-NRS-111.  Pennsylvania forests 2014.  Albright, Thomas A.; McWilliams, William H.; Widmann, Richard H.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lehman, Shawn; Lister, Tonya W.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Riemann, Rachel; Smith, James E.  140p.  

This report summarizes the third cycle of annualized inventory of Pennsylvania with field data collected from 2009 through 2014. Pennsylvania has 16.9 million acres of forest land dominated by sawtimber stands of oak/hickory and maple/beech/birch forest-type groups. Volumes continue to increase as the forests age with an average of 2,244 cubic feet per acre on timberland. Sawtimber volume has risen 24 percent in 10 years to 115 billion board feet. Net growth outpaced removals by a ratio of 2.4:1 on timberland. Additional information on land-use change, fragmentation, ownership, forest composition, structure and age distribution, carbon stocks, regeneration, invasive plants, insect pests, and wood products is also presented. Sets of supplemental tables are available online at and contain: 1) tables that summarize quality assurance and 2) a core set of tabular estimates for a variety of forest resources.
On September 6, 2017, the text on page 85 and figure 62A on page 87 were updated.


  11.  RMAP-NRS-8.  The 2010 wildland-urban interface of the conterminous United States.  Martinuzzi, Sebastiín; Stewart, Susan I.; Helmers, David P.; Mockrin, Miranda H.; Hammer, Roger B.; Radeloff, Volker C.  124p.  

The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is the area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland, and it is where wildfires have their greatest impacts on people. Hence the WUI is important for wildfire management. This document and associated maps summarize the extent of the WUI in the conterminous United States in 2010. The maps and summary statistics are designed to inform both national policy and local land management concerning the WUI. The data presented here summarize the 2010 WUI at a national scale and for each of the 48 conterminous States. All products of this assessment—including maps, statistics, and the WUI GIS dataset—are available at

A pdf version of the map included with this publication is available for download (2 MB PDF)

A high resolution version of this publication is available for download (100 MB PDF)


Available Online Only

12.  GTR-P-NRS-174.  Proceedings of the American elm restoration workshop 2016.  Pinchot, Cornelia C.; Knight, Kathleen S.; Haugen, Linda M.; Flower, Charles E.; Slavicek, James M.  148p.  

Proceedings from the 2016 American Elm Restoration Workshop in Lewis Center, OH. The published proceedings include 16 papers pertaining to elm pathogens, American elm ecology, and American elm reintroduction.


13.  RB-NRS-114.  National Woodland Owner Survey: family forest ownerships with 1 to 9 acres, 2011-2013.  Butler, Brett J.; Snyder, Stephanie A.  9p.  

This report summarizes results from the 2011-2013 National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program for family forest ownerships with forest holdings of 1-9 acres. Summaries are based on responses from 1,025 family ownerships with 1-9 acres of forest across 39 U.S. states. Survey summary tables are provided for the nation and three regions (North, South, and West) and are available at To generate reliable statistics, only the 39 states with at least five respondents are included. The survey summary tables provide statistics on general forest ownership patterns, ownership characteristics, land characteristics, reasons for owning land, land ownership history, uses of the forest land, sources of information, concerns, the future of their land, and demographics.


14.  RN-NRS-248.  An assessment of black locust in northern U.S. forests.  Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Hansen, Mark H.  5p.  

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), a tree of the legume family (Fabaceae), is native to the southern Appalachian Mountains (Pennsylvania to Alabama), Ozark Plateau, and mid-south (Fig. 1). Black locust wood is utilized for firewood, fence posts, and building due to its strength and durability. The prolific pealike blossoms are aesthetically pleasing and provide nectar for bees and butterflies (Fig. 2). Within and outside of its native range, black locust has been extensively planted for ornamental purposes and land reclamation where its ability to fix nitrogen helps increase soil fertility. Except for reclamation, most forest managers consider this tree a weed species that can be a strong competitor against more desirable species (Czarapata 2005, Kaufman and Kaufman 2007, Huntley 1990).


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-128.  Forests of Maine, 2016.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-130.  Forests of Connecticut, 2016.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-131.  Forests of Rhode Island, 2016.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-132.  Forests of Pennsylvania, 2016.  Albright, Thomas A.  4p.  

RU-FS-135.  Forests of New Jersey, 2016.  Crocker, Susan J.; Liknes, Greg C.  4p.  

RU-FS-138.  Forests of Massachusetts, 2016.  Butler, Brett J.  4p.  

RU-FS-139.  Forests of Ohio, 2016.  Albright, Thomas A.  4p.  

RU-FS-141.  Forests of New York, 2016.  Albright, Thomas A.; Olsen, Anthony C.  4p.  

RU-FS-142.  Forests of Kansas, 2016.  Meneguzzo, Dacia M.  5p.  

RU-FS-143.  Forests of Delaware, 2016.  Potter, Stephen.  4p.  

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