Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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Fire and Climatic Variability in the Pacific Northwest

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Understanding how fire has behaved in the past under different management scenarios can help in anticipating what fire patterns may be like in the future. In the Pacific Northwest, ongoing research aims to understand historical fire trends and their connection to climate.

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Forest Biomass Energy Life Cycle Assessment Project

Pacific Southwest Research Station

This project will model the environmental, economic, and social costs and benefits of using biomass from forest thinning projects to generate electricity.

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Impacts of year-year variations of precipitation (snowpack and rainfall) on amphibian recruitment and survival

Pacific Southwest Research Station

This study explores the link between the changes in water availability -- including complete pond drying -- and the abundance and recruitment of mountain yellow-legged frog in Dusy Basin , Kings Canyon National Park , California , USA . We propose using the low-snowpack years (1999, 2002, 2004) as comparative case studies to predict future effects of climate change on aquatic habitat availability and amphibian abundance and survival.

Response of Subalpine Conifers to 20th Century Climate Variability in the Sierra Nevada: Meadow invasion, snowfield colonization, and changes in growth, form, and genetic diversity

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Using tree-ring methods, ecological plot evaluation, and genetic analysis, PSW scientists are investigating multiple and independent indicators of vegetation response in subalpine conifers to 20th century climate change.

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Social and Economic Analysis of the Effects of Climatic Change

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Presented in a series of briefing papers, the main topics addressed here are effects of climate change on wildlife habitat, other ecosystem services, and land values; socioeconomic impacts of climate change on rural communities; and competitiveness of carbon offset projects on nonindustrial private forests in the United States.

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Urban Forests and Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocols

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacfic Southwest Research Station's Center for Urban Forest Research led a team in the development of greenhouse gas reporting protocols for urban forests. The Urban Forest Reporting Protocols used science from the Center for Urban Forest Research to provide cities, utilities, and other organizations with an opportunity to predict, measure, and verify the role of urban trees in fighting global climate change.

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Urban Forests and air quality improvements

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Urban forests improve air quality by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and absorbing air pollutants. Trees can directly sequester carbon dioxide as woody and foliar biomass while they grow. Properly planted and managed trees can also reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, resulting in fewer emissions released into the atmosphere. A study of one Southwest region's six million trees reveals that the trees remove and store approximately 304,000 tons of atmospheric CO2, 12,000 tons of ozone, and 9,000 tons of particulates.

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Western Mountain Initiative

Pacific Northwest Research Station

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A collaborative research program on the effects of climatic variability and change on mountain ecosystems in the Western United States.

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Westwide Climate Initiative

Rocky Mountain Research Station, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Southwest Research Station

A research-management partnership to assess and adapt to the effects of climatic change on western ecosystems. Proposed by scientists in the western research stations of the Forest Service, it works to assess the effects of climatic change on natural resources, develop a climate-smart toolbox for resource analysis, and generate adaptive management options for western national forests.

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Forest inventory-based estimation of carbon stocks and flux in California forests in 1990 [pdf]

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Researchers modeled forest carbon stores and flux for California circa 1990, using forest inventory data. These efforts will support California’s legislatively mandated greenhouse gas inventory.

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