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Geography: Pacific Northwest Region (R6)

Timber and Tracks: Practices for Limiting Soil Disturbance During Harvest Operation

Documents and Media Posted on: July 29, 2021
A new GTR reviews timber harvest operations and their effects on soil sustainability to help forest managers understand and limit impacts and allow national forests to continue to produce ecosystem services and goods. Document Type: Other Documents

How much fuel is consumed in a wildfire?

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 26, 2021
Wildfires burn a tremendous amount of fuel to release a proportionate amount of heat and smoke - but how much? The amount of fuel (load) and how efficiently it burns (consumption) are the two largest sources of uncertainty in estimating smoke emissions from fires. This research is using pre-fire and post-fire LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) collections to more precisely map pre-fire and post-fire fuel loads; by differencing these maps, we can more accurately estimate fuel consumption due to the wildfire.   

Insights into the dispersal and reproductive modes of the black stain root disease fungus

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 22, 2021
Black stain root disease caused by the native fungus Leptographium wageneri poses a serious threat to the sustainable production of Douglas-fir in timber plantations. Understanding the biology of the pathogen and epidemiology of the disease is critical for formulating efficient and effective management strategies. Population genomics provides valuable tools for scientists to investigate many important ecological and evolutionary characteristics of the pathogen that may be important for mitigating its impacts.

Infrequent periods of favorable conditions drive post-fire sagebrush recovery

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 21, 2021
We paired sagebrush establishment dates from annual growth rings with soil environmental data from sites across the Intermountain West to better understand the environmental drivers of sagebrush recruitment and recovery.

Harvesting can alter soil carbon and nitrogen

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 20, 2021
We conducted two meta-analyses to understand the impacts of forest residue removal on soil carbon and nitrogen.  There is less soil carbon when whole tree harvesting is combined with forest floor removal.  Control of competing vegetation also reduces soil carbon.  Soil nitrogen largely mirrors soil carbon changes.

Climbing With Climate Change: Increasing Aridity Is Forcing Some Treelines to Retreat Uphill

Documents and Media Posted on: July 14, 2021
Lower treelines in the Intermountain West are often defined by the boundary beyond which conditions are too dry for trees. Scientists are observing tree mortality in response to global climate changes and associated increased aridity in some places. Land managers are keenly interested in these changing ecological dynamics and how forests will shift in response to climate change. Maps of predicted topoclimatic limits to lower treeline can be used by managers at broad scales to identify portions of the landscape at risk of climate-driven woodland contraction and to prioritize vegetation treatments. Document Type: Other Documents

Predicting future extreme wildfire events in the western United States

Science Spotlights Posted on: June 28, 2021
Climate change studies suggest that extreme wildfires will become more frequent in the future. We investigated the prediction of extreme wildfire events - plausible but rare scenarios that describe yet to be observed fire disasters - using fire simulation methods. 

New models predict fewer lightning-caused ignitions but bigger wildfires by mid century

FS News Posted on: June 21, 2021
This news release was published by our partners at Oregon State University with information about a publication co-authored by scientists from OSU and RMRS. The original news release is available online: 

Discovering Douglas-fir woodlands in the Umatilla National Forest

Science Spotlights Posted on: March 24, 2021
We documented Douglas-fir open woodlands in the Umatilla National Forest in historical surveys conducted in the late 19th century. Douglas-fir open woodland is an unusual ecosystem type that has not been reconstructed in previous large-scale studies.

Area burned at high severity is increasing in western U.S. forests

Science Spotlights Posted on: January 19, 2021
Increases in burned area across the western United States since the mid-1980s have been widely documented and linked partially to climate factors, yet evaluations of trends in fire severity are lacking. We documented an overall eight-fold increase in annual area burned at high severity across all western U.S. forests from 1985-2017 coincident with a warming climate.

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