Best of 2021 SAF National Convention Bundle

This curated selection of plenaries and highest-attended technical sessions from the 2021 SAF National Convention.


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Big Stage Presentations (3)

Southern Silviculture and Forest Ecology (1)

Harvesting & Utilization (2)

Human Dimensions and History of Forestry (2)

Fire & Fuels Management (1)

Pests, Pathogens & Invasive Plants (1)

Remote Sensing & Geospatial Applications (1)


CFEs are not available for viewing this collection of recorded presentations. Be sure to register for the current year’s convention to earn CFEs, build your skills, and expand your professional network connections.

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Big Stage Presentations
2021 Plenary 1: The Secrets of an Adventurer - The Power of Insight
Open to view video.  |  51 minutes
Open to view video.  |  51 minutes Today's ever-changing world requires you to go where you have never gone before. By applying the secrets of an adventurer, you will uncover a new perspective on your life. Come take a journey to explore your imagination and discover your true source of wisdom. Drawing from a career and life as diverse as expedition leader, paramedic firefighter, Mt. Everest climber, SWAT team officer, paragliding pilot, and Wish Grantor, Brian will guide you through your own Call to Adventure. Presented by Brian O'Malley at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
2021 Plenary 2: Boots on the Ground - Connecting with Landowners from Varying Perspectives
Open to view video.  |  61 minutes
Open to view video.  |  61 minutes For centuries, structural inequalities in the US land ownership system have contributed to stark and persistent disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially among landowners of color, women, and indigenous communities. In the desire for growth, we find ourselves wondering what can be done to bridge this gap and how this history impacts the relationship among these landowner groups and forestry professionals. How can we ensure all landowners are treated equitably? In breaking down the barriers and challenges to land ownership and management, our panelists rely on their unique perspectives to share an inclusive framework with attendees on how to be a part of the solution. Presented by Sam Cook, Phil Rigdon, and Cathy Drummer at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
2021 Plenary 3: The Value of Forests
Open to view video.  |  61 minutes
Open to view video.  |  61 minutes Individual tree products that accurately incorporate prediction of species in mixed conifer stands have long been the elusive promise of lidar-derived individual tree products in the Inland northwest. Through a collaboration with Idaho Dept. of Lands, industry partners, Smart Forest Systems, and the Intermountain Forestry Cooperative, we acquired a complete, lidar-derived individual tree inventory product for the University of Idaho Experimental Forest (UIEF). I summarize practical lessons learned and perspectives on future technology distilled from using the product regularly to help guide preparation and administration of recent timber sales and fuels management on the UIEF over the last year. Being the first university research, demonstration and teaching forest to fully adopt individual tree-level analysis into all aspects of the hands-on, experiential learning that defines our student-led forest management not only helps prepare future professionals for the highly digitized forest industry they will lead, but also fosters a variety of applied research opportunities that will help to further advance and improve on the use of smart, precision silviculture and forest operations. Presented by Zack Parisa from University of Idaho Experimental Forest at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Fire & Fuels Management
Restoring Fire Dependent Ecosystems on Private Lands in the Eastern US
Open to view video.  |  22 minutes
Open to view video.  |  22 minutes Fire-dependent forest ecosystems are becoming more widely recognized in the eastern US and their restoration a priority for many public land management agencies. Given the amount of forestland under private ownership in the region, restoring and managing these unique ecosystems will also rely on the ability for private landowners to utilize prescribed fire. Examples of fire-dependent ecosystems that rely on regular burning include open-structured oak woodlands and pitch pine communities, both of which have declined over decades of land-use change and fire exclusion. Policies regarding the use of prescribed fire vary widely by state and can present opportunities and challenges for private lands burning. Many landowners are likely unaware of prescribed burn policies, particularly where fire has not been used for generations. Private lands burning is a common practice in many states, particularly in the southeast, but is rare in others, even where laws have been passed to support burning and where significant demand exists among landowners. Barriers to burning can include lack of landowner knowledge and experience with fire, but also a lack burn consultants to meet landowner demand. Policies that effectively support private lands burning can help in the restoration and management of these unique fire-dependent ecosystems in the eastern US. Presented by Jesse Kreye from Penn State University at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Harvesting & Utilization
A Monetary Valuation of Benefits Provided by Iconic Ecosystems
Open to view video.  |  20 minutes
Open to view video.  |  20 minutes Iconic ecosystems (e.g., bottomland hardwoods, open pine stands, and grasslands) provide many ecosystem services that are valuable from ecological, economic, and social perspectives. However, iconic ecosystems on nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) lands might be susceptible to degradation and/or conversion to other land uses. Therefore, NIPF landowner participation in conservation efforts is critical for sustaining these ecosystems. However, many of the benefits and services provided by iconic ecosystems are non-market in nature and their increased provision on NIPF lands might result in monetary trade-offs experienced by NIPF landowners. Thus, landowners have little incentive to manage their lands to increase the production of ecosystem services beyond their needs or sense of good land stewardship. This discussion identifies key factors associated with preservation of iconic ecosystems in the southern United States and ensuring a sustainable provision of ecosystem services. A contingent valuation method (CVM) is discussed as an approach to determine landowners’ willingness to manage their forest land for increased production of ecosystem services, which then is used to quantify the cost of preserving iconic ecosystems and increasing production of ecosystem services. The discussion concludes with explanation of various monetary-based approaches that can be implemented to prioritize conservation of iconic ecosystems. Presented by Robert Grala from Mississippi State University at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Economics of Managing Southern Pine to Meet Timber, Non-Timber Forest Products and Ecosystem Services Demands
Open to view video.  |  18 minutes
Open to view video.  |  18 minutes More than half of the total forestland acreage in Florida is owned by Non-Industrial Private Forest landowners. These forestlands are managed for diverse objectives, focusing on various timber and nontimber outputs. Forest management objectives are influenced by many factors such as forest characteristics, landowner characteristics, timber, and nontimber product demands, production costs, and forest policies. This study evaluated financial and environmental tradeoffs associated with managing southern pine forests for a diverse range of objectives. First, we defined five different pine forest management systems representative of North-Central Florida forestry practices, each of which prioritized the production of either timber products (sawtimber or pulpwood), nontimber forest products (pinestraw), or ecosystem services (water yield only or water quality and yield). The demand for each of these products or services was driven by the spatial relationship between their corresponding production and consumption locations within the landscape. The specific consumption locations corresponding to forestlands managed for sawtimber, pulpwood, pinestraw, water yield, and water quality and yield were sawmills, pulpwood mills, pinestraw mulch suppliers, urban water wells, and natural springs, respectively. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to simulate each of the management systems and quantify their respective forest products and water quality and yield. Economic analyses utilized SWAT outputs coupled with enterprise budgets and stand-level economic modeling informed by direct input from forest landowners and participatory modeling with stakeholders. Results allowed us to evaluate the tradeoffs between the financial outcomes (i.e., net returns) and environmental outcomes (i.e., groundwater recharge and nitrate leaching to groundwater) of the five management systems. Understanding the magnitude and direction of these tradeoffs in the context of management objectives and spatial location of the forestland can inform public policy and incentive program design. Presented by Unmesh Koirala from University of Florida at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Remote Sensing & Geospatial Applications
Hyperspectral Characterization of Forest Health
Open to view video.  |  30 minutes
Open to view video.  |  30 minutes Monitoring forest health is crucial to understanding function and managing productivity of forest systems. However, traditional estimates of tree health are time-consuming and challenging to collect because of the vertical and spatial scales of forest systems. During this presentation I will discuss the ability of hyperspectral data to estimate foliar functional trait responses to multiple biotic and abiotic stressors and to classify different stress combinations. In a greenhouse environment, one-year-old black walnut (Juglans nigra) and red oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings were exposed to multiple stress factors, alone and in combination. Reference measurements of numerous leaf physiological traits were collected and paired with spectral collections to build predictive models. The resulting models reliably estimated most black walnut and red oak leaf functional traits. Spectral data classified different individual stress groups well, but the ability of spectral data to classify stress groups depended on if the stress events were applied individually or in combination. I will also discuss the extension of these approaches to aerial platforms to monitor disease epidemiology in a mixed species forest. High-dimensional spectral data can provide information about plant stress, improve forest monitoring in future predicted environments, and ultimately aid in management efforts in forest systems. Presented by John Couture from Purdue University at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Forest Health Modeling: Current Outlook and Future Perspectives
Open to view video.  |  15 minutes
Open to view video.  |  15 minutes Forests are subject to several disturbance agents that alter their ability to provide ecosystem services, causing yearly damage worth billions of dollars. Researchers have focused their attention on designing monitoring programs, insect and disease forecasting, and proper control of current and emerging forest health problems to reduce this negative impact. With the aim at mitigation treatments to reduce adverse effects, a new stream of insect and disease forecasting models has emerged, finding fertile ground in forestry problems. These models allow the utilization of existing data from monitoring programs to make inferences about population size and potential impact in different environments. However, existing databases impose limitations due to complex data structures (e.g., multicollinearity and autocorrelation), the stochastic nature of these disturbance agents, and uncertainty in model input and outputs. Failure to address these components can lead to highly biased results. Thus, the goal of this review is to provide examples of current projects that have successfully incorporated supervised machine learning algorithms to address the aforementioned constraints. The specific projects include: 1) determined how weather and climate influence forest insect populations over space and time using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) and generalized additive models (GAMs); 2) predicted the magnitude of damage for eruptive forest insect pests using a novel multistep machine learning technique [i.e., supervised extreme gradient boosting (XGB)]; and 3) compared traditional modeling techniques (i.e., generalized linear models and GAMs) to contemporary machine learning algorithms (random forests, gradient boosted trees, and XGB) used in forest health modeling. Explicit spatial-temporal uncertainty was quantified for each study. These machine learning techniques improved current prediction and forecasting efforts and may be extended to other forest disturbance agents to help guide management and sustainability practices. Presented by Holly Munro from University of Georgia at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Human Dimensions and History of Forestry
Understanding Inclusion & Engagement in SAF: Survey Results and a Mixed Methods Approach
Open to view video.  |  28 minutes
Open to view video.  |  28 minutes People of color, women, and other groups are minoritized in forestry and natural resource professions. Numerous sources share the concern that natural resources fields must begin to reflect the larger demographic makeup of the U.S. or minoritized groups will continue to miss opportunities to influence and lead natural resources decisions. We need to better understand how current professionals feel engaged and included if we are to bring more people together to understand, enjoy, use, and tend to our forests and natural places. We also need to better understand how different types of people connect to the environment and environmental professions. This mixed methods study looked at how qualitative methods might help to explain and enhance quantitative findings related to measures of engagement and inclusion of minoritized groups and other members in the Society of American Foresters. In this session, we will provide an overview of this study and our methodology, including how environmental justice was used a as a critical research frame to shape the methods, research questions, and analysis. We will also share preliminary results from a survey of all SAF membership that utilized engagement and inclusion measures, including perceptions of culture, respect, commitment, sense of belonging, and stereotype vulnerability. Findings from this study might be applied and utilized by practitioners to influence policy and practice in SAF, forestry and natural resource professions, and beyond. Presented by Jamie Dahl from Colorado State University at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Outside with Pride: Being LGBT and an Ally in Natural Resources
Open to view video.  |  29 minutes
Open to view video.  |  29 minutes Natural resource professions are typically dominated by straight, cisgender, males due to deep-rooted historical norms and hiring policies. Today, over ten percent of the adult population in the United States identifies as something under the LGBT umbrella. The steady increase in LGBT visibility and growth of the LGBT community will lead to shifts in the workplace that require updated policies and an increase in the need for support for all minoritized individuals- including LGBT- working in the natural resource field. It is important to recognize that minorities experience less privilege and many challenges in society. Discrimination has occurred for as long as history presents itself but was especially prominent in the U.S. in the early 1900's when it was illegal for most minorities to do everyday activities that crossed the paths of those who were not marginalized. While present laws and policies protect these communities more and more, the past still dictates the prejudice and discrimination that is faced by individuals today. As younger people approach the workforce, new methods of support must increase to match the number of LGBT identified individuals as years go on. Outside with Pride will discuss the history and changes of employees in natural resource careers, examine topics that greatly impact minorities as agents in these professions, outline laws and regulations that are in place today to protect LGBT individuals and other minorities, explore the needs of these individuals, and analyze the ways support can be achieved by natural resource agencies and our coworkers. Presented by E. Krause from Michigan Technological University at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Pests, Pathogens & Invasive Plants
Bringing the Lab to the Field: New Monitoring Method for Forest Pests
Open to view video.  |  17 minutes
Open to view video.  |  17 minutes The world’s forests face unprecedented threats from invasive insects and pathogens, driven by global trade and climate change. Early detection and surveillance activities are essential to monitor the environment and promote early interventions. DNA detection using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has become an integral part of this process. One of the biggest challenges is that biosurveillance of forest enemies is often done in remote locations where laboratory facilities and equipment are not available. We have developed a point-of-use real-time PCR system using a crude buffer-based DNA extraction protocol and lyophilized, ready-to-use reactions for point-of-use applications. We demonstrated the use of this approach with a broad spectrum of forest enemies, from fungal tree pathogens such as white pine blister rust and sudden oak death to lepidopteran insects such as gypsy moth. DNA can be obtained within a few minutes from a variety of tissues, including infected leaves, pathogen spores, or insect legs and antenna. The kit required to conduct this method fits in a backpack and can be carried to remote locations for point-of-use accurate and rapid detection of pests and pathogens. Presented by Richard Hamelin from UBC at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.
Southern Silviculture and Forest Ecology
The Informal Economy of Wiregrass Production for Longleaf Pine Restoration
Open to view video.  |  16 minutes
Open to view video.  |  16 minutes Wiregrass (Aristida behrichiana/stricta) is an understory grass species used to restore the ecosystem health, function, and biodiversity of longleaf pine (LLP: Pinus palustris) ecosystems. It is frequently the primary species seeded into restoration projects because it is known to carry the frequent, low intensity fires essential for maintaining open canopy savannas. A limitation to restoration of LLP savannas is the availability of a sufficient amount of viable wiregrass seed or plugs. Here, we examine the limitations to restoration using wiregrass using qualitative data (interviews) to identify and contextualize the economic and ecological barriers to wiregrass availability. We conducted semi-structured interviews of private landowners, public land managers, and conservation organization staff members. Using a qualitative data analysis approach (88% inter-coder reliability), we identified eight emergent themes: 1) knowledge barriers must be overcome for restoration success, 2) restoration can be cost prohibitive, 3) site preparation is a major challenge, 4) fire is the dominant and most cost effective management method, 5) bartering and/or collaboration promotes restoration success, 6) a closed loop/in-house management system is ideal, 7) changing weather conditions influences restoration success, and 8) restored ecosystems have intrinsic and other nonmarket values. These findings should help landowners and land managers address and overcome restoration challenges in LLP ecosystems and inform policy decisions and program design to promote successful LLP restoration. Presented by Tyler Carney from University of Florida at the 2021 SAF National Virtual Convention.