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Keyword: forest disturbance

Diversity of algorithm and spectral band inputs improves Landsat monitoring of forest disturbance

Publications Posted on: September 29, 2020
Disturbance monitoring is an important application of the Landsat times series, both to monitor forest dynamics and to support wise forest management at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. In the last decade, there has been an acceleration in the development of approaches designed to put the Landsat archive to use towards these causes.

Watering the Forests for the Trees: Water Yield and Changes in Forest Cover

Documents and Media Posted on: August 07, 2020
Forest cover loss may decrease water yield, particularly following nonstand-replacing disturbance in semi-arid western forests. This contradicts the long-held expectation that water yield increases when tree cover is reduced. Document Type: Other Documents

Still standing: Snagfall the first decade after severe bark beetle infestation

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 27, 2020
Post mountain pine beetle outbreak snagfall dynamics create a multiple decade legacy that will persist longer in high-elevation compared to lower-elevation forests.

Development of Landsat-based annual US forest disturbance history maps (1986-2010) in support of the North American Carbon Program (NACP)

Publications Posted on: June 20, 2020
In Phase III of the North American Forest Dynamics (NAFD) study an automatic workflow has been developed for evaluating forest disturbance history using Landsat observations. It has four major components: an automated approach for image selection and preprocessing, the vegetation change tracker (VCT) forest disturbance analysis, post-processing, and validation.

Snagfall the first decade after severe bark beetle infestation of high elevation forests in Colorado, USA

Publications Posted on: June 18, 2020
The persistence and fall rate of snags (standing dead trees) generated during bark beetle outbreaks have consequences for the behavior, effects, and suppression of potential wildfires, hazard tree and timber salvage operations, wildlife habitat, and numerous ecosystem processes. However, post-beetle snagfall dynamics are poorly understood in most forest types.

Tree regeneration and soil responses to management alternatives in beetle-infested lodgepole pine forests

Publications Posted on: June 18, 2020
Recent mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae; MPB) outbreaks have caused one of the most widespread and dramatic changes in forest condition in North American forests in more than a century and highlighted challenges facing resource managers.

Management of high-elevation five-needle white pines

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 16, 2020
White pine blister rust (WPBR), a disease caused by the fungal pathogen Cronartium ribicola, has spread rapidly through moist forests in the northwestern and eastern United States, killing many five-needle white pines, a crucial subalpine forest species. WPBR continues to spread more slowly through the drier habitats of the southern Rockies, Great Basin, and Southwest. RMRS scientists, in collaboration with other researchers and forest managers, have developed the regeneration for resilience (R4R) framework, which prioritizes limited resources and utilizes natural and artificial regeneration for management of stands and landscapes to support multi-generational, self-sustaining pine populations in the presence of WPBR. 

Forests and water yield: A synthesis of disturbance effects on streamflow and snowpack in western coniferous forests

Publications Posted on: March 24, 2020
In coniferous western forests, recent widespread tree mortality provided opportunities to test the long-held theory that forest cover loss increases water yield. We reviewed 78 studies of hydrologic response to standing-replacing (severe wildfire, harvest) or nonstand-replacing (drought, insects, low-severity wildfire) disturbances, and reassessed the question: Does water yield or snowpack increase after forest disturbance?

Disturbance effects on water yield in western coniferous forests

Science Spotlights Posted on: March 20, 2020
In coniferous western forests, recent widespread tree mortality provided opportunities to test the long-held theory that forest cover loss increases water yield. Collective results indicate that post-disturbance streamflow and snowpack may increase, stay the same, or even decrease. This post-disturbance hydrologic response depends on vegetation structure, climate, and topography.  New hypotheses continue to be formulated and tested in this rapidly evolving discipline.

Complementing insect aerial surveys with satellite imagery

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 06, 2019
Forest insects kill large numbers of trees in the western United States each year. The US Forest Service monitors and quantifies tree mortality from insect outbreaks using annual aerial detection surveys. The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is demonstrating how satellite imagery can be used to produce annual maps of tree mortality, as the Forest Service anticipates relying more on satellite imagery, a cheaper alternative to aerial detection surveys, to monitor forest health in the future.