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Research Highlights

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  • To support city planners and policymakers, researchers investigated the association of urban trees and home prices. The sale price of single-family homes in Tampa, Florida, was clearly associated with the presence of trees, such that even small increases in tree cover were associated with higher home sale prices. This information helped inform city planners revising the tree protection ordinance. 
    Year
    2020
    Research Unit(s)
    Goods, Services, and Values
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Oregon
  • The second volume of Freshwater Fishes of North America was recently published. The book is a rich textual and visual experience that covers everything known about the diversity, natural history, ecology, and biology of North American fish families Characidae to Poeciliidae. The authoritative reference book is the result of decades of analysis by leading fish experts from universities and research laboratories across North America.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Mississippi
  • Ash trees across Europe are currently under attack by a fungal disease known as ash dieback disease while in the United States the emerald ash borer is killing ash trees at an unprecedented rate. An international team of scientists have worked for several years to find genes that are responsible for pest and pathogen resistance in trees.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Genetics, Biological Control, and Management of Invasive Species
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Ohio
  • Researchers and managers with the USDA Forest Service and Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are developing new tools that share the activities and results of the cooperative Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication programs, contributing to a more efficient response and speedier eradication of a potentially devastating nonnative invasive species.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Connecticut
  • From bright green insects that hitchhiked to the United States in packing material to a tiny insect that literally sucks the life out of hemlock trees, insects, even catastrophically damaging ones, are fascinating. A new podcast brings captivating stories about USDA Forest Service science to a whole new audience via an intimate, and popular, new medium.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Communications and Science Delivery
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Michigan
  • Industry 4.0, known for the digitization of manufacturing, enhanced automation, smart factories, and data-driven production systems, promises to bring rapid change to the forest products industry. Are woodworking manufacturers in the United States ready?
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Ecological and Economic Sustainability of the Appalachian Forest in an Era of Globalization
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Ohio
  • The Wildfire Risk to Communities website provides a nationwide view of wildfire risk potential, allowing users to see how individual states, counties, or communities compare to others across the country. These maps are powered by datasets developed by RMRS. 
    Year
    2020
    Research Unit(s)
    Fire, Fuel and Smoke
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Montana
  • Emerald ash borer (EAB) is like a slow-moving wildfire spreading through urban forests and killing ash trees. City foresters need guidelines that can slow the insect’s spread and preserve a community’s investment in urban forestry. Northern Research Station scientists delivered practical guidelines that emphasize the importance of surveillance for EAB.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Minnesota
  • The USDA Forest Service monitors birds because of interest in bird conservation, and many birds are important management indicator species or are threatened, endangered, or sensitive species. Scientists analyzed 26 years of bird monitoring data from southern national forests to determine the status of birds on these forests to help guide land management planning.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Sustainable Management of Central Hardwood Ecosystems and Landscapes
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Missouri
  • Contending with two simultaneous and interacting disasters—wildfire and the COVID-19 pandemic—poses an extraordinary challenge for wildland fire management. All aspects of fire management would be significantly more complex. For this study scientists rapidly developed scenarios to inform wildfire decision making in the face of COVID-19.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Illinois
  • Almost one-third of Earth’s total land area is comprised of forest, which is also the largest terrestrial carbon sink. A Northern Research Station scientist and his partners have established that fully stocking the Nation’s understocked forests could increase carbon sequestration by about 20 percent.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Forest Inventory & Analysis
    State(s)
    Minnesota
  • Visual diagnosis of thousand cankers disease (TCD) in a declining black walnut is difficult in the Eastern United States because the general dieback symptoms are typical of several different disease and insect problems. Work by a Northern Research Station scientist and her partners will aid plant health specialists and laboratory diagnosticians in determining causal agents of branch dieback in this valuable hardwood species
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Biological and Environmental Influences on Forest Health and Productivity
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Minnesota
  • Ecological silviculture is an approach for managing forests based on emulation of natural forest dynamics to sustain the myriad of services forests provide. For the first time, scientists have distilled the concepts of ecological silviculture into a comprehensive guide, the first truly new textbook on silviculture offered to the global management community in the last 50 years.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Northern Forest Science and Applications
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Minnesota
  • Forest managers benefit from knowledge about species composition, biomass, and %cover in understory vegetation among ridges, slopes and valleys in tropical forests during hurricane succession. 
    Year
    2020
    Research Unit(s)
    International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Puerto Rico
  • Scientists are building capacity to do space-based fire effects mapping and post-fire monitoring as a means of strengthening ongoing national programs. A key part of that effort is figuring out how to predict fire effects from remotely-sensed information. Results of a recent study demonstrate one approach.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Sustaining Forests in a Changing Environment
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Ohio
  • Cities are investing in programs to expand tree cover and the myriad of benefits trees provide, such as cleaner and cooler air. In the first citywide health impact assessment of the estimated effects of a tree canopy initiative on premature mortality, a Northern Research Station scientist and her partners found that tree cover in Philadelphia could also reduce premature deaths.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Urban Forests, Human Health, and Environmental Quality
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Pennsylvania
  • Tree inventory data typically are confined to national boundaries and differ in formats and objectives, thus limiting their use for studying species wide ranges. Northern Research Station scientists collaborated with their colleagues in Canada to overcome this barrier to predict current and future habitat quality and calculate colonization likelihoods. Scientists mapped combinations of habitat quality and colonization likelihoods to evaluate management options, including assisted migration.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Climate, Fire, and Carbon Cycle Sciences
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Ohio
  • A single hurricane can cause more than $1 billion in agricultural and forestry losses, and the intensity of hurricanes is increasing due to climate change. The USDA Southeast Climate Hub developed a series of 23 hurricane preparation and recovery commodity guides for southeastern forests, farms, and ranches. The goal of these guides is to reduce economic loss and increase the reliability of food and fiber supplies from the region.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    North Carolina
  • Shallow water tables respond rapidly to rainfall and evapotranspiration, making runoff in coastal forests highly variable. However, new SRS research on two very different forests found that they had similar runoff responses to extreme climatic events. Long-term monitoring is key to understanding how climate and vegetation management affect runoff.
    Year
    2020
    Research Station
    Research Unit(s)
    Forest Watershed Science
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    South Carolina
  • Decades of research on interactions between forest dynamics and water supply has suggested that water availability increases as forest cover decreases. This led to the expectation that water yield would increase following recent widespread tree mortality in the West. However, in many cases, water yield actually decreased. This new review examines where and why water yield increases or decreases following disturbance in western forests.
    Year
    2020
    Research Unit(s)
    Inventory and Monitoring
    Principal Investigator(s)
    State(s)
    Utah
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