In the News
Landscape Pattern Research Featured in Northern Woodlands Magazine
When it comes to sustaining forest resources, pattern matters. In a study led by Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters, scientists analyzed forest loss and gain throughout the lower 48 United States between 2001 and 2006 and discovered a net loss of forest land—with a significantly greater area of interior forest lost compared to total forest area lost. An article in Northern Woodlands magazine’s spring 2013 issue highlights northeastern U.S. forest landscape patterns revealed through this research and describes why interior forest loss threatens the sustainability of biological communities and ecosystem services that require large areas of intact forest land. Read the article, “Interiors: Disappearing Fast in a Forest Near You.”
Eastern Threat Center Co-Hosted Cultural Awareness Luncheon
The Eastern Threat Center recently co-hosted an All Cultures Luncheon to expand cultural awareness for Forest Service staff and collaborators in the Raleigh/Research Triangle Park area. Luncheon keynote speaker Victor Harris, publisher of the Raleigh-based Minority Landowner Magazine, highlighted the importance of “short and long term strategies for sustainable land management,” especially for minority agricultural and forest landowners, and shared tips to effectively reach diverse audiences. Forest Service and partner participants from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative explored the dynamic, proud heritage of the African American Gullah culture and sustainable conservation efforts off the coast of South Carolina through a NRCS-produced documentary, “St. Helena Island – A Better Place.” Participants also shared and discussed treasured items representing various cultures—including Columbian, American, Canadian, Native American, African, and Asian-Pacific American—that spanned several decades.
Above: The Raleigh/RTP All Cultures Luncheon expanded cultural awareness and understanding for Forest Service and partner participants. From left to right: Victor Harris, Minority Landowner Magazine; Kier Klepzig, Southern Research Station; Ge Sun, Eastern Threat Center; Erika Cohen, Eastern Threat Center; and Ken McDermond, South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Climate Change Science Tool Supports a Variety of Forest Planning Projects
From pine forests of the southern United States to mountainous forests of western North Carolina and California’s Sierra Nevada region, forest planning efforts rely on the best available climate change science to support decision making. Natural resource specialists and enthusiasts who must consider numerous forest values and threats are benefitting from the flexible Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO) tool, which is streamlining a variety of forest sustainability planning projects. Visit the TACCIMO tool's news page to learn more about exciting collaborations and new publications as well as ongoing outreach efforts and training opportunities.
Biological Scientist Enhances Natural Resource Management through Tribal Relations
Serra Hoagland, Eastern Threat Center biological scientist and doctoral student at Northern Arizona University, serves as a point of contact for the Southern Research Station’s (SRS) Tribal Relations initiatives. She and SRS forester Wayne Zipperer are working to increase reciprocal communication, expand science delivery, and share technical and scientific information and tools to enhance natural resource management. Read more about Serra's work in the Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations newsletter...
Featured Publication: Forest Influences on Climate and Water Resources at the Landscape to Regional Scale
More than 30% of the earth’s land surface is forested, and researchers have long understood that climate determines the locations and characteristics of these forested lands. What is often less understood is how forests influence climate and water resources. Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun co-authored a book chapter that describes a web of interactions among forests, climate, and water based on studies in the southeastern United States and northern China. The chapter also identifies research needed to support forest management in a changing climate. Read the chapter, which was published in the book Landscape Ecology for Sustainable Environment and Culture.
Two scientific papers co-authored by Eastern Threat Center researchers and featured in the journal Risk Analysis are recognized for their contributions to the field of ecological risk assessment. In a special journal issue, Risk Analysis editor Wayne Landis selected 25 key papers published in the journal since its founding in 1981 that represent broad topics and milestones in the development of ecological risk assessment. Among the selected papers related to nonnative species and conservation, Landis states that two 2009 papers by research ecologist Frank Koch (left), biometrician Bill Smith (right), and collaborators “helped set the standard” for risk analysis of pest invasions. One of the papers, “Evaluating critical uncertainty thresholds in a spatial model of forest pest invasion risk,” was previously honored with Risk Analysis’ 2009 Best Paper Award. Read more in CompassLive...
Water Management: A Balancing Act
It may come as little surprise that human activities and climate influence the volume of water in rivers, but Forest Service research is now revealing just how much. Eastern Threat Center scientists are examining the individual and combined effects of changing land cover, human water use, and climate through time. Their efforts are providing a clearer picture of how these factors impact river flows needed to support healthy aquatic life and provide water for domestic use, agriculture, and energy. Read more in CompassLive...
Forest Service Associate Chief Explores the Wonders of Forest Science
Mary Wagner, Forest Service Associate Chief, recently toured project and partnership sites within the Southern Region and Southern Research Station (SRS), spending an afternoon with SRS Raleigh-based partners at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ new wing, the Nature Research Center. Wagner learned more about current and future Station collaborative efforts with North Carolina State University (NCSU), the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and the museum, all uniquely poised to expand awareness and understanding of SRS research efforts. During her visit, key Eastern Threat Center projects were highlighted, including the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options and ForWarn, the Center’s forest disturbance monitoring tool. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner (3rd from left) is flanked by (from left) SRS Director Rob Doudrick, NCSU Department of Forestry Head Barry Goldfarb, Nature Research Center Director Meg Lowman, SRS Assistant Director Kier Klepzig, SRS Partnership Director Cheryl Jefferson, and Nature Research Center Biodiversity and Earth Observation Lab Director Roland Kays.
Forest Science Shared With Minority Landowners
The Southern Research Station (SRS) recently co-sponsored Minority Landowner Magazine’s Seventh Anniversary Conference in Greensboro, NC. More than 250 multicultural participants attended workshops and gained insight from speakers focused on this year’s theme, “Keeping Your Farm Productive, Profitable, and Yours.” Station and Eastern Threat Center attendees shared informational materials and discussed forest science products and services to help keep forestland healthy. Minority Landowner Magazine publisher Victor Harris lauded the Station’s support, “SRS has been a tremendous partner, showing support to help minority landowners improve their operations.” Harris is also a member of the Eastern and Western Threat Centers’ Technical User Group, helping the Centers expand outreach and awareness efforts. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Eastern Threat Center Communications Director Perdita Spriggs discussed forest science products and services at the Seventh Anniversary Minority Landowner Magazine Conference. Spriggs (right) is shown with magazine publisher Victor Harris and Mississippi landowner Vickie Roberts.
Featured Publication: Improving Restoration to Control Plant Invasions under Climate Change
Human activities that spread non-native invasive plants and development that reduces forest habitat are serious threats to native plant species. An increasing human population and changing climate add to the complexity of the problem. Natural resource managers working to restore native plant communities must address these interacting threats, but may not be able to rely on past conditions as a guide for restoration. In a chapter published in the book Invasive Plant Ecology, Eastern Threat Center research ecologists Qinfeng Guo and Steve Norman discuss strategies for promoting stable and resilient ecosystems that are able to withstand unusual environmental changes. Learn more about the book...
Research Ecologist Bridges the Eastern Threat Center and Northern Research Station
Lindsey Rustad, team leader and research ecologist with the Northern Research Station’s (NRS) Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, has joined the Eastern Threat Center as an adjunct scientist. In this inaugural adjunct role, Lindsey will be a key point of contact between the Eastern Threat Center and the NRS. Located in Durham, New Hampshire, Lindsey will serve as a northern US representative of the Eastern Threat Center and will be in a unique position to share Eastern Threat Center research with NRS scientists and stakeholders. In turn, she will report NRS information and technology transfer needs to the Eastern Threat Center during monthly video teleconference staff meetings and other virtual communication opportunities. Welcome, Lindsey!
New Book Featuring Eastern Threat Center Research Aims to “Link People and Nature”
The places on the landscape where human developments and natural areas meet, known as urban-rural interfaces, can be difficult to define and challenging to manage. Scientists, natural resource managers, planners, and decision makers can gain insight into the unique characteristics of these places in a new book, Urban-Rural Interfaces: Linking People and Nature. A chapter co-authored by Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun examines how population growth and urban development affect water quality and quantity. Read more in CompassLive...
Eastern Threat Center Scientists Co-Organize Special Landscape Ecology Event
Studying the timing and development of seasonal changes, known as phenology, can help natural resource managers identify unusual vegetation conditions indicating potential ecosystem disturbance or recovery. Attendees of the US-Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) 2013 Annual Symposium can learn more about this topic during a special session on April 17 co-organized by Eastern Threat Center ecologists Bill Hargrove and Steve Norman and partners. The special session, "Phenology for Disturbance Detection and Monitoring," will feature 15 presentations on a variety of methods and applications for phenological observations in strategic ecosystem management. Read more in CompassLive...
Featured Publication: Effect of Soils on Water Quantity and Quality in Piedmont Forested Watersheds of North Carolina
The Southeast’s piedmont region is experiencing water supply stress due to increasing human population, rapid land use changes, and record droughts. Eastern Threat Center scientists led a study that compared the roles of two soil types in regulating water flow in the North Carolina piedmont. The study’s results can help decision makers understand how the area’s unique soil types influence water quantity and quality when planning for development. Read the paper, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.
McNulty Named “Most Distinguished” in Forest Science
Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Steve McNulty recently received the Forest Service national Research and Development “Distinguished Science Award.” He is recognized for sustained research productivity, proactive science technology, innovative leadership, applied forest science, and longtime federal service. “I’m deeply honored to receive the Forest Service distinguished science award,” says McNulty, a 21-year career scientist based in Raleigh, NC, who has written more than 150 scientific papers and given hundreds of scientific presentations. “Forest science positively impacts some of society’s most significant environmental issues, including climate change, water supply, and timber production. I value collaborating with a team of public, private, and university partners who are on the cutting-edge of science exploration and discovery.” Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Steve McNulty accepted the Distinguished Science Award during a ceremony on February 12 in Arlington, VA. Pictured left to right: Jim Reaves, Forest Service Deputy Chief of Research and Development; Steve McNulty; and Rob Doudrick, Southern Research Station Director.
Interagency ForWarn Team Recognized for Federal Collaboration
The Eastern and Western Threat Centers' ForWarn team is among the agency recipients of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) Southeast Region’s 2012 Partnership Award. The award recognizes the collaborative efforts of team members from the Forest Service, NASA Stennis Space Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and US Geological Survey to provide and enable a satellite-based forest disturbance monitoring system. Team members will be recognized during a March awards ceremony in Charleston, SC. The FLC has previously honored the ForWarn team at the national level with its 2013 Interagency Partnership Award, which recognizes outstanding collaborative work in technology transfer and is one of the highest honors from FLC.
Above: ForWarn’s Forest Change Assessment Viewer provides a coast-to-coast snapshot every eight days to highlight forest change and potential disturbance.
Carbon In, Carbon Out: How Tree Harvests Affect Carbon Balance in a Planted Forest
As the world population grows, demand for tree-derived products is also increasing. To meet the demand, the area of planted forests to supply wood for products is also increasing. When compared to natural forests, harvests on planted forests equate to relatively frequent ecosystem disturbances. So how do these harvests affect the long-term carbon balance of a planted forest? To examine this question, Eastern Threat Center researchers and cooperating scientists from North Carolina State University (NCSU) developed a 25-year carbon budget (the budget describes the amounts of carbon entering and leaving an ecosystem) for a typical planted forest—a commercial loblolly pine plantation in North Carolina. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Emrys Treasure, Eastern Threat Center biological scientist, measures woody residue left on site following harvest of a loblolly pine plantation.
The Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO) continues to expand and provide land managers, planners, and other decision makers with the best climate change science available. TACCIMO’s scientific literature database now contains information from more than 1,000 peer-reviewed sources describing the effects of climate change on natural resources as well as land management options that can help forests adapt to changing conditions. In addition to expanding TACCIMO’s scientific literature database, the TACCIMO development team is generating information to support Land and Resource Management Plan revision processes for El Yunque, Francis Marion, Nantahala-Pisgah, and Southern Sierra National Forests. The TACCIMO team is also partnering with the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative to develop a Vulnerability Assessment for the Sierra Nevada region. Read more in CompassLive...
Above: Eastern Threat Center staff members evaluate an ever-growing body of scientific literature to select the best climate change science available for TACCIMO's database.