New Station Publications

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Northern Research Station

  1.  GTR-NRS-190.  Developing a decision-support process for landscape conservation design.  Bonnot, Thomas W.; Jones-Farrand, D. Todd; Thompson, Frank R.; Millspaugh, Joshua J.; Fitzgerald, Jane A.; Muenks, Nate ; Hanberry, Phillip ; Stroh, Esther ; Heggemann, Larry ; Fowler, Allison ; Howery, Mark ; Hammond, Shea ; Evans, Kristine.  66p.  

Planning for sustainable landscapes is hampered by uncertainty in how species will respond to conservation actions amidst impacts from landscape and climate change. Planning decisions, including tradeoffs among competing species objectives, are complex. We developed a decision-support framework that integrates dynamic-landscape metapopulation models (DLMPs) and structured decision making (SDM) to help guide landscape conservation design. With this framework, we demonstrated that planning for viable populations across broad scales can be achieved under global change. Furthermore, the integration of DLMPs with SDM enabled decisions to be more objective and transparent, and thus, more defensible.


  2.  RMAP-NRS-10.  USDA Forest Service section, subsection, and landtype descriptions for southeastern Ohio.  Iverson, Louis R.; Bartig, Jarel L.; Nowacki, Gregory J.; Peters, Matthew P.; Dyer, James M.; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Matthews, Stephen N.; Adams, Bryce T.  68p.  

The classification, mapping, and description of ecosystems are fundamental components of land management. The National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units (Cleland et al. 1997) provides the basis for the USDA Forest Service to accomplish these tasks. This framework allows the recognition of ecosystems or ecological units at eight spatial scales within a nested hierarchy. The highest levels of ecological units have been delineated nationally from domains through subsections. Our project, described here, is an extension of this national effort and concentrates on the local mapping and description of ecological landtypes, the seventh level of the hierarchy. It is envisioned that the results of this project will serve the Wayne National Forest in Ohio and its partners in many ways. This work provides an ecological basis by which future land management plans can be developed and executed. It helps give direction to silvicultural activities designed to maintain ecological sustainability, biological diversity, and local economies. It also informs research by distinguishing different ecosystems for experimental design and spatial extrapolation of findings.


  9.  GTR-P-NRS-185.  Green Readiness, Response, and Recovery: A Collaborative Synthesis.  Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika ; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Hines, Sarah J.; Maddox, David.  385p.  

A collection of case studies, interviews, and personal reflections inspired by a national workshop, Green Readiness, Response, and Recovery: A Collaborative Synthesis includes lessons learned from a diverse group of practitioners and researchers about the ways in which environmental stewardship has served as a catalyst for revitalizing communities. Its focus is on practical solutions from various sectors on how to best prepare for, respond to, and recover from disturbances. The book contains a wide range of examples, including social and environmental disturbances and disasters, urban and rural geographies, and various modes of action, from small nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to government agencies. This volume is a shared endeavor by the USDA Forest Service and the TKF Foundation as they work to understand, cultivate, and celebrate the persistence of community, nature, and the human spirit.


Copies still available

  3.  GTR-P-NRS-187.  The Forest Futures Horizon Scanning project.  Hines, Andy ; Bengston, David N.; Dockry, Michael J.  81p.  

Horizon scanning is a method for detecting and interpreting the implications of emerging issues and other signals of change, both within and outside of an organization or field. Anticipating possible changes that may affect an organization is a first step toward strategic thinking, planning, and actions that can help prepare it for an uncertain future. Developing insight into emerging possible futures—or strategic foresight—can help decisionmakers respond proactively to seize opportunities and mitigate potential threats. Decisionmaking in forestry and other natural resource management fields has underutilized formal horizon scanning.

The USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station's Strategic Foresight Group recently worked with the University of Houston Foresight graduate program to design and implement a formal horizon scanning system for the agency, with the goal of increasing strategic foresight. The nine papers in this report summarize the early phases of this process and lessons learned. Among the topics are the development of a method to identify useful scanning sources pertinent to forest futures, ways to analyze scanning hits, and distinguishing between current and emerging issues for the Forest Service. Also discussed is the range of communication products generated to date by the project. The report contains the complete guide written for those volunteering to do the scanning. This collection will acquaint forest planners, managers, and policymakers with horizon scanning as an integral step in anticipating the consequences of potential change and making better decisions in a rapidly changing environment.


  4.  RB-NRS-118.  Ohio Forests 2016.  Albright, Thomas A.; Butler, Brett J.; Crocker, Susan J.; Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Lister, Tonya W.; McWilliams, William H.; Miles, Patrick D.; Morin, Randall S.; Nelson, Mark D.; Riemann, Rachel ; Smith, James E.; Woodall, Christopher W.  114p.  

This report constitutes the third full report of annualized inventory on Ohio forest land and summarizes field data collected from 2011 through 2016. Ohio has 8.0 million acres of forest land containing 103 tree species and 50 forest types. Net cubic-foot and sawtimber volumes continued to increase, as did the area occupied by large diameter stands. Growing-stock volume remained stable overall, though it decreased 3 percent on private land since 2006. The net-growth-to-harvest-removals ratio dropped from 2.3:1 in 2011 to 1.6:1 in 2016. Invasive insects have had a substantial impact on Ohio's forests, particularly for ash species. Additional information on land-use change, fragmentation, ownership, forest composition, structure, age, carbon stocks, regeneration, invasive plants, insect pests, and the possible future of Ohio's forests is also presented. Sets of supplemental tables are available online at and contain: 1) tables that summarize quality assurance and 2) a core set of tabular estimates for a variety of forest resources.


  5.  RB-NRS-117.  The urban forest of New York City.  Nowak, David J.; Bodine, Allison R.; Hoehn, Robert E.; Ellis, Alexis ; Hirabayashi, Satoshi ; Coville, Robert ; Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Hallett, Richard A.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Stephan, Emily ; Taggart, Tom ; Endreny, Ted.  82p.  

An analysis of the urban forest in New York, New York, reveals that this city has an estimated 7.0 million trees (encompassing all woody plants greater than one-inch diameter at breast height [d.b.h.]) with tree canopy that covers 21 percent of the city. The most common tree species across public and private land are Norway maple, northern white-cedar, tree-ofheaven, sassafras, and white oak, but the most dominant species in terms of leaf area are Norway maple, London planetree, black locust, pin oak, and red maple. Trees in New York City currently store about 1.2 million tons of carbon (4.2 million tons carbon dioxide [CO2]) valued at $153 million. In addition, these trees remove about 51,000 tons of carbon per year (186,000 tons CO2/year) ($6.8 million per year) and about 1,100 tons of air pollution per year ($78 million per year). New York City's urban forest is estimated to reduce annual residential energy costs by $17.1 million per year and reduce runoff by 69 million cubic feet/year ($4.6 million/year). The compensatory value of the trees is estimated at $5.7 billion. The information presented in this report can be used by local organizations to advance urban forest policies, planning, and management to improve environmental quality and human health in New York City. The analyses also provide a basis for monitoring changes in the urban forest over time.


  6.  RMAP-NRS-9.  Assessing potential climate change pressures across the conterminous United States: mapping plant hardiness zones, heat zones, growing degree days, and cumulative drought severity throughout this century.  Matthews, Stephen N.; Iverson, Louis R.; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha M.  31p.  

The maps and tables presented here represent potential variability of projected climate change across the conterminous United States during three 30-year periods in this century and emphasizes the importance of evaluating multiple signals of change across large spatial domains. Maps of growing degree days, plant hardiness zones, heat zones, and cumulative drought severity depict the potential for markedly shifting conditions and highlight regions where changes may be multifaceted across these metrics. In addition to the maps, the potential change in these climate variables are summarized in tables according to the seven regions of the fourth National Climate Assessment to provide additional regional context. Viewing these data collectively further emphasizes the potential for novel climatic space under future projections of climate change and signals the wide disparity in these conditions based on relatively near-term human decisions of curtailing (or not) greenhouse gas emissions.


  7.  GTR-NRS-175.  Ten principles for thinking about the future: a primer for environmental professionals.  Bengston, David N.  28p.  

Every decision we make is about the future, but most of us are never taught how to think critically about it. This guide addresses this issue by identifying and reviewing 10 principles for thinking about the future, along with related strategies for improving environmental foresight. The principles and strategies are drawn from the transdisciplinary field of futures studies. Taken together, these principles and strategies can help guide environmental planners, managers, and policy makers toward well-considered expectations for the future.


  8.  GTR-NRS-49.  Multiscale habitat suitability index models for priority landbirds in the Central Hardwoods and West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas Bird Conservation Regions.  Tirpak, John M.; Jones-Farrand, D. Todd; Thompson, Frank R., III; Twedt, Daniel J.; Uihlein, William B., III.  1-195p.  

Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models were developed to assess habitat quality for 40 priority bird species in the Central Hardwoods and West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas Bird Conservation Regions. The models incorporated both site and landscape environmental variables from one of six nationally consistent datasets. Potential habitat was first defined from unique landform, landcover, and successional age class combinations. Species-specific environmental variables identified from the literature were used to refine initial habitat estimates. Models were verified by comparing subsection-level HSI scores and Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) abundance via Spearman rank correlation. Generalized linear models that predicted BBS abundance as a function of HSI were used to validate models.


Available Online Only

10.  GTR-P-NRS-186.  SILVAH: 50 years of science-management cooperation, Proceedings of the Allegheny Society of American Foresters training session.  Stout, Susan L.  146p.  

This report represents proceedings of the Allegheny Society of American Foresters training session titled "SILVAH: 50 Years of Science Management Cooperation." This meeting celebrated a unique and long-lasting community of practice that includes forest and natural resource managers and scientists. SILVAH originated in northwestern Pennsylvania in the late 1960s. Over time, the research results, shared efforts, and training sessions led to decision support software and all became known as SILVAH, and the geographic range of the community expanded. This published proceedings includes 12 papers that describe the origins and early history of the community of practice, the current state of science and management guidelines as presented at the conference, as well as a paper that explores the factors that contributed to its long-term success.


11.  RN-NRS-252.  An assessment of Canada thistle in northern U.S. forests.  Kurtz, Cassandra M.; Hansen, Mark H.  5p.  

This publication is part of a series that provides an overview of the presence of invasive plant species monitored on an extensive systematic network of plots measured by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station (NRS). Each research note features one of the invasive plants monitored on forested plots by NRS FIA in the 24 states of the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is an herbaceous perennial in the Aster family. Since its arrival to North America from Europe in the early 1600s via contaminated crop seed, it has caused considerable impact by displacing native plants and reducing crop and pasture productivity (Czarapata 2005, Kaufman and Kaufman 2007).


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