Forest Service Shield
2017 Research Highlights
Northern Research Station
Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Northern Research Station

In the Nation's most densely forested and most densely populated corner, the Northern Research Station is delivering science that makes a difference. From forests to woodlots and from city streets to farm fields, Northern Research Station scientists are developing knowledge and tools that improve the health and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands and, ultimately, improve the lives of the people we serve.

Our 2017 Research Highlights web presentation introduces our 'best of the best' research from the past year. Organized around the U.S. Forest Service's strategic goals, our 2017 research highlights demonstrate how the Northern Research Station advances our agency's mission by conducting research that is relevant to everyone who manages land, regardless of whether that land is public land, commercial forests, a farm field or a back yard.

To learn more about the Northern Research Station, visit our website at You can keep up with our research by following us on Twitter at @usfs_nrs.

Audio Welcome from Tony Ferguson, Station Director

Tony Ferguson

map of the Northern Research Station showing locations and headquarters

I'm Tony Ferguson, Director of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station. I'm happy to share with you the web-based presentation of our 2017 research highlights. These highlights represent some examples of the remarkable research developed by our scientists and staff over the past year.
The Northern Research Station covers a geographic area that we sometimes call the “4-Ms” –it's from Maine to Minnesota to Missouri to Maryland. However, our science really benefits a much larger area across the entire nation, as well as internationally.
We have about 400 employees here in the Northern Research Station. We have 13 different Research Work Units where we do our actual work on the ground with our scientists and employees.
We also have 22 experimental forests that we manage with a lot of long term research sites and-I guess I like to think about the purpose as really we are about improving people's lives and helping sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and the Midwest, and through our science and through our information delivery to the public and to other managers we are really providing some very beneficial products.
You know our scientists and our staff just does an outstanding job year after year in just the area of delivering sound science. And it is science that state, private, and federal land managers are able to use to improve the conditions of the forests and grasslands.
The thing that I am so impressed with in our work here at the Northern Research Station and in just Forest Service Research and Development as a whole, is the importance of working with partners. We have partners in so many different areas, in terms of scientists working with state agencies, working with tribes, other federal agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations –just name it, we have relationships and partnerships that we are very proud of in doing our work.
We've had some really intriguing and exciting research going on regarding ice storms. In the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire we've actually had our scientists and staff creating experimental ice storms to sort of demonstrate the impact to the Northern forest. And we all know how just a little bit of ice in an area sometimes can be very, very hazardous –it's also a great way to study the impacts of these ice storms on forests.
Another example that I think is really good, and it really helps all of our land managers when it comes to on-the-ground management is, we've developed a comprehensive group of “Best Management Practices” when it comes to road construction and, in particular, how to protect water quality on forest lands where you put a road in. It's just a real simple thing of trying to keep that sediment and manage the run off and just keep the stream quality where it needs to be where you have roads involved in forestry. And we've been really very, very beneficial and very helpful in developing this list of Best Management Practices for people to actually apply on the ground.
This past year we had an extremely intensive fire season. And we have scientists in the Northern Research Station looking at some of the complexities associated with wildland fires and trying to sort of map out some ways to reduce hazardous fuels and severity for future fires. And again, a huge impact to our public and also the health of our forests.
Another area where we're doing some great work too, is more in the forest products and sort of looking at the potential for cross-laminated timbers –which is a construction effort underway. Where many times we have low-value, or low-grade, or under-utilized hardwoods that aren't really being... that don't really have a product that can be developed with, we are looking at the introduction of some of those low-grade hardwoods into the building construction world, again, creating jobs, creating opportunities, especially in rural areas that have been impacted significantly by the some of the downturn in the paper industry.
I hope you enjoy this snapshot of how our Research Station advances our agency's mission by conducting the research that land managers need whether they manage public lands, commercial forests, or just a few acres of private woodlands, we‘re making a big difference.
Thanks a lot..

Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

The Nation's vast forests and grasslands are essential to the ecological, economic, cultural and social well-being of our country. In 2017, the Northern Research Station advanced knowledge of the role and effect of fire in forest ecosystems, developed critical tools in the fight against invasive insects and plants, and provided insight into how forested watersheds improve water quality.

Deliver Benefits to the Public

The people we serve benefit from healthy, resilient forests and grasslands in various ways. Through research, science delivery, and technical assistance, the Northern Research Station supports natural resources management in landscapes ranging from wilderness areas and rural communities to some of the largest metropolitan areas in the Nation, where our network of Urban Field Stations are engaged in research on urban ecology.

Apply Knowledge Globally

Northern Research Station science provides land managers and others with information, applications and tools for natural resources management and decisionmaking. Our work has impacts beyond the geographic boundaries of our station, we contribute to the National and global understanding of adaptive and resilient forest management.