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Geography: Oregon

A tree-level model of forests in the western United States

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 14, 2016
https://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/53114Maps of the number, size, and species of trees in forests across the western United States are desirable for a number of applications including estimating terrestrial carbon resources, tree mortality following wildfires, and for forest inventory. However, detailed mapping of trees for large areas is not feasible with current technologies. We used a statistical method called random forests for matching forest plot data with biophysical characteristics of the landscape in order to populate entire landscapes with a limited set of forest plot inventory data. 

Wildland fire: Nature’s fuel treatment

Media Gallery Posted on: September 14, 2016
In recent decades, many landscapes across the western United States have experienced substantial fire activity. These fires consume fuels and alter vegetation structure, which may be able to serve as a natural fuel treatment in the same manner as mechanical treatments or prescribed fire. Knowing that fire occurrence, size, and severity are limited by recent wildfires should provide greater flexibility and confidence in managing fire incidents and managing for resource benefit. Specifically, fire managers can use the findings from this study to help predict whether a previous fire will act as a fuel treatment based on fire age, forest type, and expected weather.

Wildland fire: Nature’s fuel treatment

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 14, 2016
In recent decades, many landscapes across the western United States have experienced substantial fire activity. These fires consume fuels and alter vegetation structure, which may be able to serve as a natural fuel treatment in the same manner as mechanical treatments or prescribed fire. Knowing that fire occurrence, size, and severity are limited by recent wildfires should provide greater flexibility and confidence in managing fire incidents and managing for resource benefit. Specifically, fire managers can use the findings from this study to help predict whether a previous fire will act as a fuel treatment based on fire age, forest type, and expected weather.

Using habitat requirements of woodpeckers to design post-fire salvage logging

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 26, 2016
Increases in forest fires are expected with future changes in climate, allowing more opportunities for post-fire salvage logging. Forest managers are challenged with implementing post-fire management policies while concurrently meeting the requirements of existing laws and planning documents to maintain habitat for wildlife species associated with snags. Design criteria for post-fire salvage logging is needed to concurrently manage for economic benefits and wildlife habitat.

Contemporary fire effects on birds dependant on historical fire regime

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 26, 2016
Researchers studied avian relationships with wildfire to evaluate forest fire and fuels management strategies. Specifically, they document regional differences associated with historical fire regime with implications for broadly implemented strategies aimed at reducing severe wildfire risk. The results suggest that avian-fire relationships differ regionally, and therefore the best management practices for conserving or restoring avian diversity likely differ with historical fire regime.

Wildland fire deficit and surplus in the western United States

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 25, 2016
The natural role of fire has been disrupted in many regions of the western United States due to the influence of human activities, which have the potential to both exclude or promote fire, resulting in a “fire deficit” or “fire surplus”, respectively. Consequently, land managers need to better understand current departures from natural levels of fire activity, especially given the desire to maintain and restore resilient landscapes. 

Western larch spacing study: Over 60 years of growth

Projects Posted on: August 24, 2016
Researchers are using existing long-term studies to answer questions about overstory and understory carbon accumulation in western larch forests.Four western larch stands were remeasured in the summer of 2015. Stand growth and carbon sequestration were evaluated by estimating the carbon pools of live trees, understory vegetation, dead woody material, and the forest floor (decomposing plant material).

Using biochar to restore mine sites and rangelands

Projects Posted on: August 23, 2016
Many range and mine land sites are degraded because of disturbance and overgrazing. Researchers applied biochar — made by burning woody material in the absence of oxygen — to range and mine sites and observed improved soil water holding capacity, organic matter, and carbon sequestration, as well as increased production of native forbs and grasses. This research will continue for approximately 3-5 years to determine the longer-term impacts of biochar additions on different soil textures, climatic regimes, and plant species.

Soil restoration of abandoned mine sites using organic amendments

Projects Posted on: August 22, 2016
Revegetation through organic amendments is increasingly essential to help promote better organic soil and rehabilitation on abandoned mining sites across the northwestern United States. RMRS scientists and their collaborators used biochar, wood chips, and biosolids alone and in combination to determine if they can be used to restore soil physical, chemical, and biological functions on abandoned mines in forests across the western United States. In addition, they are evaluating the best methods for revegetation (seeding vs. planting) so that mineral soil organic matter can be rebuilt over time.

Forest Service science bolsters sagebrush and sage-grouse conservation

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 19, 2016
USDA Forest Service (FS) has been a leader for several decades in developing science and applications to support conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse populations. This spotlight describes an assessment that explains how and why understanding and supporting FS science is crucial for future management of sagebrush ecosystems.

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