Watershed vulnerability assessment as being developed in the Forest Service, is a strategic assessment process that describes conditions, processes, and interactions at intermediate scales. It can be used to adapt broad guidance, analysis, and approaches to ecosystem management to particular places at management-relevant scales. The draft assessment process was piloted on 11 National Forests in 2010. The goal of the pilot watershed vulnerability assessment was to quantify the current and projected future condition of watersheds as affected by climate change to inform management decision making.
The Framework is a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resource management. It provides an integrated set of tools, partnerships, and actions to support climate-informed conservation and forest management.
Three regional projects encompass nine states, including 11 National Forests and millions of acres of forestland. Each regional project interweaves four components: science and management partnerships, vulnerability assessments, adaptation resources, and demonstration projects. Learn more about how the components interact to build a flexible, scalable, and effective Framework at CCRF Approach.
The Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO) is a web-based tool that connects forest planning to current climate change science. The formation of TACCIMO was rooted in the need for a standardized, credible, and concise science delivery tool relevant to forest planning and management. For more, please see our TACCIMO tool page.
Data from flux sites help test physiological models of carbon exchange and are critical to relating fluxes and remote sensing data. Companion physiological and ecological measurements enable partitioning carbon fluxes into plant and soil components and reveal mechanisms responsible for these fluxes. Data from the flux sites have been applied in ecology, weather forecasting, and climate studies, especially for sites with several years of data to quantify inter-annual flux variations.
Studies on carbon dioxide concentration, CO2 and H2O flux, and the effects of multiple air pollutants on urban forests are being conducted in Baltimore. Urban conditions may represent possible future scenarios: elevated carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen deposition and elevated temperatures. A 40 m Forest Service lookout tower near Baltimore is used to conduct air quality and meteorological flux research. This is the first permanent tower to estimate carbon flux and carbon sequestration in an urban/suburban forest ecosystem. Metropolitan areas have an average tree cover of 33.4% (urban counties) and support 25% of the USA's total tree canopy cover, and their inclusion in climate models is essential for accuracy.
Acid rain and other anthropogenic factors can leach calcium (Ca) from forest ecosystems and mobilize potentially toxic aluminum (Al) in soils. Considering the unique role Ca plays in the physiological response of cells to environmental stress, we propose that depletion of biological Ca would impair basic stress recognition and response systems, and predispose trees to exaggerated injury following exposure to other environmental stresses.
As part of the cooperative Chequamegon Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (ChEAS), NRS scientists have been studying the energy, water vapor and CO2 exchange between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere to understand the dynamics of forest productivity.
Vistas of colorful fall foliage hold tremendous public and media interest, and associated tourism to the Northern Forest is estimated to add billions of dollars to the regional economy each year. This natural spectacle of diverse leaf coloration is based on the physiology of leaf pigments. In addition to its aesthetic value, the biology of one pigment (anthocyanin) may provide insights to how some trees survive environmental stress.
This study concerns seasonal and annual changes in forest insect populations at the Aspen FACE experiment site in northern Wisconsin where trees are growing under both elevated CO2 (+200 ppm above ambient) and ozone (+50% above ambient).
Forest landscapes are changing as a consequence of climate and environmental change. These changes affect people and the forest ecosystems they depend on for clean water, clean air, forest products, and recreation. How can we best manage our forest resources to sustain this array of ecosystem services under increasing environmental stress and a changing climate? This research is leading to the development of effective strategies to adapt to these long-term changes.