Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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Threat assessment of non-native perennial grasses to the ecology and management of National Grasslands in the Northern Great Plains
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center

National Grasslands are large, diverse, and mostly intact native ecosystems that provide a wide variety of outputs and resource values. Approximately 86% of the 3.8 million acres of National Grasslands are located within the Northern Great Plains States of CO, NE, WY, SD, and ND, and may represent the last, large tracts of native short- and mixed-grass prairie in the United States. However, the structural and functional integrity of native grasslands are being threatened by intensive agriculture, urban and energy development, unmanaged recreation, and climate change. This project is strategically focused on National Grasslands issues that may adversely impact the diversity, productivity, and sustainability of what may be the last, large tracts of native grasslands in the United States.

Contact: Jack Butler
Inyo National Forest Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory
Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center

The US Forest Service classifies ecological types consistently throughout the nation using a system called Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory (TEUI). Within this system, spatial regions are uniquely classified based on their climate, geology, geomorphology, soils and vegetation. We will expand upon a TEUI conducted by the by Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) to create an updated R5 Terrestrial Ecological Unit Inventory (TEUI) User Guide with specific applications for climate change planning, as well as a completed TEUI for the Inyo National Forest.

Contact: Michele Slaton
Impacts of bark beetles on ecosystem values in western forests: A synthesis
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center

Although basic outbreak dynamics and impacts of some bark beetle species have been described, characterizing and quantifying these impacts on ecosystem functions and services remains a significant challenge. The range of ecosystem services and resources impacted by bark beetles is wide and diverse, but most pest impact assessments and valuations are still based on timber production. New information addresses the wider range of impacts on non-timber services and resources but much of it remains scattered in the literature and databases pertaining to individual insect species. We will review and synthesize the literature involving currently used pest assessment methods, including monitoring and survey methods, summary analyses, valuation procedures, reporting metrics and standards and error and accuracy estimation.

Contact: John Lundquist
Biophysical limitations, migration potential, and climatic ranges of tree species in the interface between the boreal forest and the temperate rainforest in Alaska
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center

Three major biomes intersect in the south-central region of Alaska: the western edge of the coastal rainforest, the southern edge of the boreal forest, and the eastern edge of the mostly treeless tundra and shrub ecosystems of southwest Alaska. Predictions of climate change responses for these ecosystems vary widely and substantial vegetation changes in this area will have large impacts on the area economy. This study will evaluate tree species' vulnerability to climate change in this area of AK.

Contact: Tara Barrett
Grassland restoration species for central New Mexico
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Researchers are looking at long-term population dynamics, germination characteristics, response to disturbance, and climate manipulations for a suite of forbs found in central New Mexican grasslands.

Esteban Muldavin
Predicting the Effects of Climate Change on Avian Abundance.
Pacific Southwest Research Station

Using a longterm dataset (27+ years), researchers are examining the effect of weather patterns on avian abundance at the San Joaquin Experimental Range, an oak woodland savanna in California, to reveal potential climate change effects on demography and identify species at risk.

Contact: Kathryn Purcell
Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Great Basin Meadow Ecosystems
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Researchers are using a multi-scale approach to examine geomorphic, hydrologic, and vegetation influences on Great Basin meadow complexes, how these influences might change under future climates, and to develop guidelines and methods for maintaining and restoring sustainable riparian ecosystems.

Contact: Jeanne Chambers
David Board
Shrub Encroachment, Wildland Fire, Climate Change, and Carbon Sequestration in Three Southwestern Grassland Ecosystems
Rocky Mountain Research Station

This multifaceted research program addresses the impacts of shrub encroachment, precipitation variability, and warming on carbon and nitrogen dynamics of arid grasslands along a latitudinal gradient from northeastern Colorado to southern New Mexico.

Contact: Paulette Ford
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Management Options (CCAMMO)
Southern Research Station
Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Management Options (CCAMMO) is an interdisciplinary project with the goal of providing a state-of-the-science analysis of forest management options to guide natural resource decision making in the face of future climate change.

Contact: Jim Vose
International collaboration research with China: the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium
Southern Research Station
Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center

The U.S.-China Carbon Consortium is a collaborative effort between American and Chinese institutions interested in studying the role of managed ecosystems in global carbon and water cycles. The overall goal is to develop a network of study sites so that data and results can be shared and synthesized at broad spatial scales in order to assess the importance of human influences on carbon and water fluxes in a changing climate.

Contact: Ge Sun

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