Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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Assessing Local Urban Forest Carbon Storage, Sequestration and Effects on Emissions from Building Energy Use

Northern Research Station

Project website:

The i-Tree suite of models is designed to link research with local data on tree populations to assess the services and values provide by trees. The model is constantly being updated with new features and is being used globally. The model estimates numerous ecosystem services, disservices, and values, and includes estimates of tree carbon storage and annual sequestration, and their effects on building energy and consequent emissions from power plants. For more, please see the i-Tree tools page.

Contact:
Soil carbon dynamics in peatlands: PEATcosm

Northern Research Station

Peatland ecosystems represent 3-5% of earth's land surface, but store 12-30% of soil organic carbon. However, this very large pool of carbon is vulnerable to loss to the atmosphere as CO2 because of climate change. Lowered water tables caused by climate change or human-caused drainage can shift peatlands from being net carbon sinks to net carbon sources. The PEATcosm experiment was initiated to study the relationships between water tables, plant communities, and carbon and nutrient cycling in peatlands in a controlled setting. Read more on the experiment here [pdf].

Contact:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
                   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:
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:

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