Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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High resolution interpolation of climate scenario change factors for the conterminous USA derived from AR4 General Circulation Model simulations.
Rocky Mountain Research Station

Researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the Canadian Forest Service collaborated in the production of a suite of downscaled change factors to use in developing climate projections covering the continental United States and Canada. The change factors were derived from simulations carried out with state-of-art general circulation models (GCMs).

Contact: Linda Joyce
Projecting Climate Change in the United States: Developing climate projections to support the Forest Service RPA 2010 Assessment
Rocky Mountain Research Station

For the 2010 USDA Forest Service Resource Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, a scenario-based approach is being used. A set of future U.S. scenarios, the RPA Scenarios, linked with IPCC global scenarios, provide a coherent interdependent future for population dynamics, socioeconomic factors and climate change, 50 years into the future. This project developed the historical and projected climate data set being used in concert with the socioeconomic data in resource models of forest condition, water supply/use projections, wildlife habitat, recreation participation, and amenity migration for the RPA Assessment.

Contact: Linda Joyce
The physiology, genetics, and distribution of ponderosa pine species vary with changes in elevation and environmental conditions
Northern Research Station

There is a great need to collect data on tree populations as part of a forest indicator and monitoring system. This information is important to confirm models for predicting climate change effects on individual forest stands. Current developments in DNA sequencing methods allow new possibilities for basic research on plant responses to environmental stress including growth, water usage, and cross breeding to form hybrids - and Ponderosa pine species are prime candidates for study.

Contact: Paula Marquardt
Comparison of Methods for Estimating Urban Forest Carbon Storage
Pacific Southwest Research Station

Elena Aguaron-Fuente and Greg McPherson authored a chapter in the book Carbon Sequestration in Urban Ecosystems. They found substantial variability in sequestration estimates produced by four methods-i Tree Streets, i-Tree Eco, the  CUFR Tree Carbon Calculator, and Urban General Equations-and concluded that the latter could be used to produce conservative estimates from remotely sensed data compared to urban-based species-specific equations.

Tree Growth and Longevity Working Group and Database
Pacific Southwest Research Station
Project website: http://urbantreegrowth.org/

An international research symposium held September 12-13, 2011 at the Morton Arboretum heralded a rousing start for this new group. The meeting brought 150 internationally renowned researchers and practitioners to learn the current state of knowledge concerning urban tree growth, mortality, and longevity, identify important gaps in our knowledge, discuss promising new methodologies, prioritize research and education needs, and outline a course of action for future research and outreach.

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

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