Research Roundup

Overviews of the climate change work happening at Forest Service research stations.
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Tropical Forest Mycology
Northern Research Station

The Center for Forest Mycology Research (CFMR), part of the Northern Research Station, leads critical research on the biology of tropical fungi native to Hawaii, US territories in the Caribbean and to other countries in the Caribbean Basin. The primary goals of this research are to: (1) recognize emerging tropical forest diseases, especially those with the potential to spread to the continental US and (2) identify the effects of environmental change on the distributions of beneficial and harmful forest fungi.

Contact: D. Jean Lodge
Predicting global change effects on forest biomass and composition in south-central Siberia
Northern Research Station

Multiple global changes such as timber harvest of previously unexploited areas and climate change will undoubtedly affect the composition and spatial distribution of boreal forests, which will in turn affect the ability of these forests to sequester carbon. To reliably predict future states of the boreal forest it is necessary to understand the complex interactions among forest regenerative processes (succession), natural disturbances (e.g., fire, wind and insects) and anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., timber harvest).

Contact: Eric Gustafson
Effects of Global Atmospheric Change on Forest Insects
Northern Research Station

This study concerns seasonal and annual changes in forest insect populations at the Aspen FACE experiment site in northern Wisconsin where trees are growing under both elevated CO2 (+200 ppm above ambient) and ozone (+50% above ambient).

Mid-Atlantic Forests and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Northern Research Station

Forest landscapes are changing as a consequence of climate and environmental change. These changes affect people and the forest ecosystems they depend on for clean water, clean air, forest products, and recreation. How can we best manage our forest resources to sustain this array of ecosystem services under increasing environmental stress and a changing climate? This research is leading to the development of effective strategies to adapt to these long-term changes.

Contact: Yude Pan
Eastern Area Modelling Consortium
Northern Research Station

The EAMC is a multi-agency coalition of researchers and managers at the Federal, State, and local levels that is focused on fire weather, fire behavior, and smoke transport issues in the north central and northeastern U.S. The EAMC carries out core fire science research and product development related to physical fire processes (including small-scale fire-fuel-atmosphere interactions and smoke plume behavior), fire characteristics at multiple scales, and fire danger assessment (including atmospheric processes associated with fire-weather development and evolution).

Contact: Warren Heilman
Tracing the movement of an invasive insect using stable isotopes
Northern Research Station

To better understand the response of insect populations to increasing environmental pollution, we are using stable isotope analysis to trace the movement of an invasive insect in mixed tree communities grown under different air quality conditions.

Contact: Paula Marquardt
Monitoring and Understanding Forest/Atmosphere Carbon Dioxide Exchange: the NRS Flux Tower Network
Northern Research Station

Data from flux sites help test physiological models of carbon exchange and are critical to relating fluxes and remote sensing data. Companion physiological and ecological measurements enable partitioning carbon fluxes into plant and soil components and reveal mechanisms responsible for these fluxes. Data from the flux sites have been applied in ecology, weather forecasting, and climate studies, especially for sites with several years of data to quantify inter-annual flux variations.

Contact: David Hollinger
Impacts of Land Management on the Climate System
Northern Research Station

Research is needed to examine the potential impacts of land cover changes, including afforestation, on the climate system. This can provide a scientific basis for adopting land use decisions that are meant to mitigate global warming.

Contact: Warren Heilman
Greenhouse Gas Impacts on Forest Microclimates 
Northern Research Station

Soil conditions and vegetation characteristics that develop in response to variations in weather, climate, and atmospheric chemistry can have important feedback effects on local and regional atmospheric environments. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognized the importance of these feedback effects in further altering the climate system. This study examines (1) near-surface atmospheric changes induced by changing vegetation conditions brought on by elevated greenhouse gas concentrations and (2) the secondary effects of these induced microclimatic changes on forest ecosystems.

Contact: Warren Heilman
Integrating Landscape-scale Forest Measurements with Remote Sensing and Ecosystem Models to Improve Carbon Management Decisions 
Northern Research Station
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Southern Research Station

Managing forests to increase carbon stocks and reduce emissions requires knowledge of how management practices and natural disturbances affect carbon pools over time, and cost-effective techniques for monitoring and reporting.

Contact: Richard Birdsey

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