Methods are needed to assess the positive or negative impact of environmental pollution on forest productivity in an asymptomatic forest stand. A goal of several research groups in the Northern Research Station (NRS) is to develop a set of physiological and biochemical markers that can assess the early onset of stress in forests due to environmental factors, before injury is visible.
Understanding the spatial and temporal patterns of climate variables throughout the region is important in developing effective land management strategies that can sustain our natural resources. This effort is helping to identify when and where climate and weather related disturbances typically occur in the north central and northeastern U.S.
The Aspen FACE (Free-Air Carbon Enrichment) Experiment is a multi-disciplinary study to assess the effects of increasing tropospheric ozone and carbon dioxide levels on the structure and function of northern forest.
Land managers need specific information, strategies, and tools to address the unique challenges of managing forests under uncertain and changing climate and ecosystem response. Sustainable forest management is critical for both the adaptation of forests to changing climatic conditions as well as mitigation of increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The uncertainty of future climatic conditions necessitates adaptive techniques and strategies that provide flexibility and enhance ecosystem resistance and resilience. This project laid the foundation for what is now the Climate Change Response Framework, in addition to several other projects.
The success of forest regeneration programs depends upon the development of adaptation strategies for ecosystem sustainability under changing climates. There is a need to identify tree species and seed sources with enhanced adaptation to climate change pressures to ensure biologically and economically sustainable reforestation, afforestation, and gene conservation.
In 1998 the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service formed the Collaborative Environmental Monitoring and Research Initiative (CEMRI) to test strategies for integrated environmental monitoring among the agencies. The CEMRI project illustrates a powerful approach for tracking of environmental conditions, development of models for predicting responses of forest and aquatic processes to perturbations, estimation of future forest conditions, and identification of threats to watershed health and forest sustainability.
Managers often need frequent, updated assessments of current and developing conditions on which to base management decisions and respond to public concerns. No methodology has been developed to indicate when a forest population is at risk to specific local and regional climate and air pollution stressors. This study resulted in an on-line information system featuring data on the relationships among various regional and global climate forcing factors and the health of forests in the north central and northeastern US, as measured by forest dieback.
The American chestnut is a tree species of unique ecological and economic value that was virtually eliminated following a blight caused by a fungal pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica. In order to restore this economically and ecologically valuable species, multiple approaches to decrease the virulence of the pathogen or increase the resistance of the tree have been evaluated. Climate change presents new implications for the recovery of the species, especially at its historic northern range limits.
In a warming world, trees growing in seasonally cold environments may encounter new winter stresses associated with delayed acclimation, midwinter deacclimation, winter respiration, and light stress, even if they are well-adapted to surviving low-temperature stress in existing climatic regimes. Boreal and temperate conifers that maintain foliage through the winter months may be especially vulnerable.
U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station (NRS), U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region, Michigan Technological University, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), Trust for Public Land (TPL)
FS Research Station(s):
Northern Research Station
The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) has been designed as a collaborative effort among the Forest Service, universities, forest industry, and conservation organizations to provide information on managing forests for climate change adaptation, enhanced carbon sequestration, and sustainable production of bioenergy and materials. Please see the NIACS website for project descriptions and products: www.nrs.fs.fed.us/niacs