Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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Adapting to Climate Change on the Shoshone National Forest: science-management collaboration in developing management tools
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Climate change introduces a significant challenge for land managers and decision makers in the western United States. In response to that challenge, the Westwide Climate Initiative, a science-management partnership, has conducted a series of case studies on western US Forest Service National Forests to develop and evaluate a set of decision-support tools and reference materials that will assist resource managers as they incorporate climate-change considerations into decision making. We are currently conducting the 4th case study of this project on the Shoshone National Forest (Shoshone). Specifically, the objectives in the Shoshone case study were to review existing literature on climate change effects on the Shoshone landscape, to share that information through a workshop, and then to develop a vulnerability assessment that focused on select key resources.

Contact: Linda Joyce
Stream Temperature Modeling and Monitoring
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Climate changes can affect stream temperature patterns and therefore species distribution, abundance and productivity. This website represents an effort to organize and map stream temperature data, primarily in the western U.S. but expanding to include some southeastern locations. It also houses a variety of related resources on stream temperature measurement techniques, models for predicting stream temperature, and affects on suitable fish habitat.

Contact: Dan Isaak
North American Vegetation Model for Land-Use Planning in a Changing Climate
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Researchers used modeling techniques to examine potential changes in the distribution of 46 North American biomes under future climates. The resulting maps can help land managers identify areas where projections are more or less certain, and where land management programs may be most successful.

Contact: Jerry Rehfeldt
Addressing Climate Change in the Forest Vegetation Simulator
Rocky Mountain Research Station

The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) is a family of forest growth simulation models that allow a user to explore forest growth and yield at the stand level. This research incorporates climatic effects into FVS to produce a new extension called Climate-FVS, providing managers with a tool that allows climate change impacts to be incorporated in forest plans.

Jerry Rehfeldt
Economic impacts of insect outbreaks triggered by climate change.
Northern Research Station
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Southern Research Station

When climate change triggers forest insect outbreaks, these episodes may affect a variety of non-market forest resources, such as recreational values, real estate values and scenic values.  A multi-disciplinary team is currently investigating how climate change-induced changes in damage caused by mountain pine beetle, hemlock wooly adelgid and southern pine beetle affect non-market forest resources.

Contact: Thomas Holmes
Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment: Aspen Regeneration and Carbon Cycling
Northern Research Station

The Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment is a large-scale, long-term field experiment in which harvested forests regenerate in atmospheres with enhanced concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3) or both gasses combined. This Experiment takes place on the same site as the 11-year Aspen FACE Experiment, following the final data collection for the Aspen FACE project in 2009.

Contact: Mark Kubiske
Stream temperature influences on warmwater fish and crayfish communities, with emphasis on Yazoo darters
Southern Research Station

We are exploring how summer stream temperatures influence fish and crayfish distributions in Mississippi and establishing long-term stream temperature recording sites. A focal species for the study is the Yazoo darter, a small, warmwater fish endemic to north-central Mississippi. This species appears to be restricted to stream segments with high groundwater discharge, and we are investigating whether the species' apparent groundwater dependence is due to temperature influences of groundwater.

Contact: Susan B. Adams
Mel Warren
Modeling potential future habitats for trees and birds in the eastern U.S.
Northern Research Station

The Landscape Change Research Group, from the Delaware, OH lab of the Northern Research Station, has been modeling potential changes in suitable habitat for trees and birds of the eastern US. These maps are available online at We also look at dispersal potentials through another modeling toolset, and work with modification factors to understand more about the factors not readily modeled.

Contact: Louis Iverson
Measuring wildfire potential using the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
Southern Research Station

A study to project future wildfire potential trends is being conducted in the Center for Forest Disturbance Science, US Forest Service Southern Research Station. This project consists of three phases to project wildfire potential in the globe, the U.S., and the South, respectively. The first and second phases are completed, and the last is underway. View their published work on wildfire trends here.

Contact: Yongquiang Liu
Watershed Vulnerability Assessments on National Forests
Northern Research Station
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest Research Station
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Southern Research Station

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.

Contact: Sarah Hines
Michael Furniss

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