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  • Small-Area Family Forest Ownerships in the USA
    Funding for the National Woodland Owner Survey comes from the Research and Development and State and Private Forestry deputy areas of the USDA Forest Service. The NWOS is implemented by the Family Forest Research Center (www.familyforestresearchcenter.org), a joint venture between the USDA Forest Service and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Presented by Stephanie Snyder, USDA Forest Service, at the SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Forest Disturbance and Forest Sustainability Reporting at the National Scale
    Forest disturbance processes are increasing in both frequency and severity, and they have emerged as a primary determinant of forest conditions, and thereby forest sustainability, in many areas of the United States. Following a brief discussion of sustainability criteria and indicators (C&I) and related concepts underlying the Forest Service’s sustainability reporting efforts, we present recent aggregate data on biotic and abiotic disturbance processes reported at the national level using the relevant indicators in the Montréal Process C&I. Next we consider the relationship between these aggregate data and data available at finer spatial scales or for specific disturbance agents. The aim of this presentation is to provide a national context for the western regional focus and detailed consideration of specific disturbances that characterize the project presented in this session. Presented by Guy Robertson, USDA Forest Service, at the SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Balsam Woolly Adelgid in Western North America: Can We Manage It?
    Invasive species represent a serious threat to the health of natural systems throughout North America. Balsam woolly adelgid, Adelges piceae (Ratzeburg) (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) (BWA), was introduced to the United States around 1900 and is considered a severe pest of native true firs. In western North America, the balsam woolly adelgid was discovered in California in the 1930s on grand fir (A. grandis), noble fir (A. procera) and European silver fir (A. alba). During the 1950s and 1960s infestations were observed in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia on grand fir, pacific silver fir (A. amabalis) and subalpine fir (A. lasiocarpa). Today the insect continues to disperse eastward across Idaho into Wyoming, northward into western Montana and British Columbia and southward into Utah. BWA causes degradation in tree quality due to swelling of nodes, branch dieback, and cessation in terminal growth, and frequently kills trees. In managed settings such as Christmas tree farms, insecticides continue to be the only successful way of dealing with BWA. In wildland forests, biological control has been employed with mixed success. The literature indicates there are not many effective measures of prevention through forest management practices. In 1957 after three years of study, 26 species of arthropods were found associated with the balsam woolly aphid in the Pacific Northwest. In the 9 years from 1957 through 1965, 23 species of insect predators from 7 countries were introduced. Five species became established; a 6th produced progeny, then disappeared. Presented by Robert Progar, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Recent Trends in Wildfire and the Impacts on Sustainability of Western Forests
    Wildfire has shaped the forest ecosystems of the western U.S. over millennia, but fire regimes have been highly variable through time. Recent changes in suppression costs, losses, and area burned have heightened awareness about fire and its potential impacts on society. National monitoring data shows fire regimes have changed substantially in recent decades. The ten-year average area burned in the United States has doubled over the last 20 years, from 3.3 million acres per year to 6.6 million acres per year. In large portions of interior western forests, pre-settlement low-severity frequent fire regimes have been replaced by mixed and high-severity fire regimes. The wildland urban interface in the western U.S. has continued to expand in recent decades, exacerbating suppression costs and losses. The ten-year average for federal suppression costs more than tripled from 1997 to 2017, now costing an average of more than 1.6 billion dollars per year. These trends have implications for sustainability of western forests, using the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators, as the ongoing changes in wildfire regimes affects biological diversity, the productive capacity and health of ecosystems, conservation of soil and water, carbon sequestration, and socioeconomic uses of forests. Presented by David Peterson, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Effects of Riparian Buffers and Climate Change on Headwater Stream Flow: Shrinking Heads in Western Oregon
    Climate change models for the US Northwest have been used to assess changes in stream flow conditions, with altered flow regimes projected to affect aquatic-dependent communities. We addressed the effects of climate on headwater stream amphibian habitats in western Oregon managed forests using a combined approach of retrospective analyses of 16 years of headwater stream flow in 109 stream reaches and associated climate data, and applying results to future climate projections and to landscape projections of consequent headwater stream flow conditions. Using multivariate and simple linear models, percent dry length of spatially intermittent stream reaches was positively related to summer heat:moisture index. Although we included alternative riparian buffer widths with upland thinning in models, these management treatments were not significant in our models. Increases in summer heat:moisture indices with climate change models of future conditions (to year 2080) resulted in ~2% increases in percent dry lengths of headwater reaches (i.e., shrinking heads). We applied our results to the western Cascade Range, examining first-order streams occurring in 135 6th-field watersheds between 0 and 1433 m (0 to 4,700 ft) elevation, the area coincident with the distribution of the sensitive headwater-associated Cascade Torrent Salamander, Rhyacotriton cascadae. The projected ~2% increase in dry length of first-order streams sums to ~358 km across the area known to be occupied by this species. Consequences of shrinking headwaters to both first-order stream habitat conditions and over-ridge head-to-head connectivity distances are potentially pronounced, likely having an isolating effect on salamanders occurring in discrete watersheds. Presented by Deanna Olson, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Predicted Changes in Forest Disease Disturbance Regimes in the Western U.S.
    In what ways do plant pathogens, both biological organisms and abiotic factors, affect forest sustainability? How will disease disturbance regimes change given global warming and increasing population pressures? Both native and invasive pathogens cause significant growth reduction, deformity and mortality of forest trees. Currently, root diseases are the most damaging group of forest diseases in terms of tree volume loss in the western U.S. Damage from invasive pathogens is on the rise as the number of invasive pathogens detected continues to increase, and is likely to intensify in the future. As climate changes, disturbance patterns will be altered as pathogens and their hosts adapt to new environmental conditions. Megadisturbances, such as the accelerated tree mortality in the drought-stricken forests of the central Sierra Nevada Mountains, where 129 million trees died from 2010 to 2017, are a foreboding example of the magnitude of change to come. Abiotic forest disturbances will increase in size and frequency which may decrease the impact of some biotic pathogens, since the hosts that the microbes attack will be killed by direct effects of abiotic damage agents. Caution is warranted, since management approaches to address climate change may inadvertently increase forest disease. As areas transformed by megadistubances are reforested, increased replanting raises the potential for pathogen introductions. Assisted migration of tree species may allow pathogens to be introduced to new areas on nursery stock. Management approaches need to integrate historic, current and predicted pathogen risks and embed disease prevention into planning and treatment strategies. Presented by I. Blakey Lockman, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Recent Impacts of Insects on Western Forests and Effects on Sustainable Use
    Insects are essential components of forest ecosystems representing most of the biological diversity and affecting virtually all ecological processes. Most species are beneficial, yet others periodically become so abundant that they threaten ecological, economic, social and/or aesthetic values at local to regional scales. In the western U.S., chief among these are several species of bark beetles, most notably mountain pine beetle. Several defoliating and sap-sucking insects are also important. We review recent impacts of insects on western forests, including several outbreaks that are considered the most severe in recorded history; and discuss the role of climate change and forest densification in exacerbating impacts. We project future impacts based on the 2013−2027 National Insect and Disease Forest Risk Assessment and expert opinion. Finally, we discuss implications to forest sustainability focusing on whitebark pine forests as a notable example. Presented by Christopher Fettig, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR.
  • Climate Change and the Impacts of Invasive Species on Western Forests and Rangelands
    Annual average temperature over the contiguous U.S. increased by 1.0°C during 1901–2016, and over the next few decades (2021–2050) is expected to rise by about 1.4°C. More extreme weather events are occurring, and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 now exceed 400 ppm for the first time in about 3 million years (Fourth National Climate Assessment 2017). We review the indirect effects of climate change on invasive species as mediated through changes in habitat, hosts, other disturbances, trophic interactions, and land use and management. We highlight specific examples of these relationships in the western U.S. Presented by Christopher Fettig, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Where Do Trees Occur in the Interior West?
    Tree distributions in the Interior West are influenced by physiographic gradients such as slope and aspect that control moisture availability. In the Interior West, steep, north-facing slopes dominated by Douglas-fir occur directly adjacent to broad, south-facing slopes dominated by Utah juniper. Despite these visually evident patterns, little quantitative work has indicated whether species’ preference for particular locations based on aspect and slope can be generalized. In particular, much of the community gradient analysis literature has relied on non-random sampling approaches, especially across large gradients (such as elevation, latitude, longitude), that are likely to greatly oversimplify any nuance in natural patterns. We investigate the possible role that slope and aspect play on the occurrence of important western tree species over eight ecoregions within eight Interior West states. We used plot-level data from a stratified random sampling design implemented as part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (n=12,010). Given the sampling design, the existence of a forested plot represents an expectation of forest occurrence, against which we tested for the occurrence of individual species. The overall distribution of species across elevation suggested general habits characterized as woodland, montane, and subalpine. Montane and subalpine species occurred more often on north aspects and least often on south aspects, and this difference was most pronounced for shade-tolerant species. Woodland species occurred more often on south aspects and gentle to intermediate slopes. Regardless of habitat groupings, or general patterns, individual tree species occurred across a wider range of slope and aspect than anecdotal observations suggest. Presented by Justin DeRose, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • A Design Scenario Informs Understanding of Neighborhood Tree Planting Preferences
    Urban trees provide myriad ecosystem services, and public perception surrounding these benefits has been studied by multiple researchers. Some work suggests that city residents perceive multiple benefits of greenery (broadly defined) from air purification to recreational use (Derkzen et. al, 2017). While well-being and aesthetics are commonly identified as reasons behind tree or green space preferences (Muratet et. al, 2015), little work has compared how these reasons interact with perceptions of the ecological or climate-related values of urban trees (Jim & Chen, 2006). Nevertheless, these later functions are of essential interest in addressing current heat and other health related risks in urban areas, and when considering projected impacts of climate change. We conducted an observational study of tree preferences, including species selection and placement of trees using a design scenario. Study participants were presented with a pictorial layout of a neighborhood street, and were invited to ‘plant’ up to six trees considering their own residential lot, adjacent lots and a nearby park. Species selections were climate adaptive, carbon sequestering, fruit trees, or flowering. Information about each tree’s features was made salient through a provided description for approximately half of our participants using a between-subjects design. Working through a ‘think aloud’ procedure we noted remarks made by participants as they ‘planted’ their street; and photos of the final ‘design’ were captured. Findings may be of use in urban forestry programs which rely on understanding public preferences surrounding tree selection and planting in neighborhoods, especially for climate adaptive and carbon sequestering species. Presented by Nora Davis, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • The Economic Contributions of Stewardship Contracting: Two Case Studies from the Mount Hood National Forest
    We conducted an economic analysis of two case study stewardship contracts located on the Mount Hood National Forest in western Oregon. Stewardship contracting has been embraced by some federal managers to achieve restoration goals while providing economic benefits to local communities. Little is known about economic contributions from stewardship contracts, including how they compare against Secure Rural Schools funding or the century old payments to counties revenue sharing system. Using expenditure data from sale purchasers, contractors, and fiscal agents, we developed flow charts that trace spending from the two contracts and used IMPLAN software to estimate employment and output effects and multipliers. Results showed that (1) commercial thinning, harvest, service work, and retained receipts projects all contributed to local economic activity, (2) expenditures for the two contracts generated $4 million of output and 36 jobs, but (3) effects were disproportionate to county payments from traditional timber sale revenue sharing. Presented by Jean Daniels, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Engaging Private Forest Owners in the All Lands Approach to Forest Restoration
    Federal and state policies and programs promoting an all lands approach to forest restoration, including wildfire risk reduction, have become prominent over the past decade. The all lands approach calls for engaging diverse landowners in coordinating to plan and implement restoration treatments, which may cross property boundaries. This presentation addresses how to engage private forest owners in all lands approaches to wildfire risk reduction. We conducted a survey of family forest owners at three project sites in Oregon and California that were part of the NRCS-USFS Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Program, which funds forest restoration at the interface of public and private lands. We also interviewed agency personnel responsible for implementing the program among family forest owners. We found that: (1) agencies used different strategies for working with family forest owners, some more successful than others; (2) family forest owners were more likely to engage in the project if they were concerned about wildfire, had a history of working with neighbors, funding for treatments was available, outreach was strong, and they perceived tangible benefits; and (3) barriers to engagement included absentee ownership, certain land uses, lack of time, lack of information, and lack of incentive if public neighbors failed to treat. We identify implications of our findings for better engaging family forest owners in the all lands approach to forest restoration. Presented by Susan Charnley, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland OR
  • Hot Off the Press: A Scientific Assessment on Agroforestry and Climate Change
    A scientific assessment was conducted on the potential for agroforestry to help adapt agriculture and agricultural lands to threats from climate variability and change. This recently released report entitled Agroforestry: Enhancing Resiliency in U.S. Agricultural Landscapes under Changing Conditions will provide technical input to the National Climate Assessment and can serve as a framework for using agroforestry as a sustainable agricultural strategy in the U.S. The agroforestry assessment was led by USDA Forest Service scientists and included participation from more than 50 scientific experts from the Forest Service, other federal agencies, research institutes, tribal lands, and universities across the U.S., as well as input by scientists from Canada and Mexico. Based on expert input and information gleaned from over 1000 citations, this document represents the first-ever synthesis on agroforestry as a mechanism to provide climate change mitigation and adaptation services. The report also evaluates the social, cultural, and economic aspects of agroforestry and the capacity of agroforestry systems to provide multipurpose solutions. For instance, indigenous and tribal agroforestry systems of the United States and U.S.-affiliated islands can offer time-tested models that could inform current agroforestry systems. In addition, the report presents U.S. regional overviews as well as international overviews from Canada and Mexico to provide a comprehensive North American perspective and understanding of agroforestry’s strengths and limitations. This presentation will provide an overview of the assessment and will highlight key sections of the report. Presented by Gary Bentrup, USDA National Agroforestry Center, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • Recent Forest Disturbances in the Western U.S.
    Various disturbance processes affect the sustainability of forest attributes and outputs in the U.S. West. These processes include fire, insects, disease, and weather. We used 172,472 Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots (49,715 forested plots) measured between 2001 and 2015 from the states of AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY, and southeast Alaska to evaluate the amount and type of recent disturbance affecting western U.S. forests. Natural and human-caused disturbances affected 57.8 million forested acres in these states within a five year window, or 22.3% of all forest land. The most common types of disturbance recorded were disease and insects, each estimated as impacting 15.0 million acres. Human disturbance (including silvicultural management) affected 10.8 million acres, while grazing and animal damage affected 9.6 million acres. While fire may be the most costly disturbance, it was only the fifth most prevalent in terms of spatial extent, affecting 9.1 million acres. We discuss how results compare to other monitoring methods, and how these data can be used to understand longer-term trends and impacts on sustainability. Presented by Tara Barrett, USDA Forest Service, at the 2018 SAF National Convention, Portland, OR
  • A Landscape-level Assessment of Whitebark Pine Regeneration, Growth, and Mortality in Mixed-species Stands
    Forest monitoring data can provide unbiased, landscape-level assessments of species of interest. This study showed that whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is more widespread and abundant in mixed-species stands than in whitebark pine-dominated stands, and that regeneration, growth, and mortality of whitebark pines were often comparable in mixed-species vs. pure stands. Presented by Sara Goeking, US Forest Service, at the 2016 SAF National Convention, Madison, WI
  • A Retrospective Analysis of the Pinyon Die-off of the Early 2000s
    The pinyon die-off of the early 2000s, brought about by a combination of drought and the pinyon ips bark beetle, was though by some to be an unprecedented event potentially leading to near extinction of common pinyon. The population is still in negative net growth, but shows signs of recovering. Presented by John Shaw, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis, at the 2017 SAF National Convention, Albuquerque, NM
  • Adapting Forests to Climate Change: New Resources for Forestry Professionals
    Land managers need tools that support climate adaptation decision-making. The Adaptation Workbook provides information and resources regarding climate change for incorporating adaptation into forest management. We describe new initiatives recently launched that expand the focus of climate-informed management to strategies for managing water resources, carbon storage, and urban forests to improve meeting the needs of professionals managing a diversity of resources. Presented by Todd Ontl, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science/ USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub, at the 2017 SAF National Convention, Albuquerque, NM
  • Anomalies in Cross-national Place Attachment Measurement: Implications for Use in Forest Management
    Forest managers have used place attachment scales around the globe (with assumed measurement equivalence) as an indicator of the non-economic value of forests. However, data collected in Austria and Minnesota indicated that place attachment measurement varies across contexts. Hence, it is important to assess measurement equivalence (taking corrective action when necessary) when using place attachment scales in new contexts. Presented by Chantal Tumpach, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, at the 2017 SAF National Convention, Albuquerque, NM
  • Are Observed Trends in Hardwood Tree Grade Due to Forest Degradation or Data Collection Anomalies?
    We demonstrate that there have been significant decreases in the relative saw-log volume found in higher-graded, commercially valuable hardwood trees in Kentucky and Tennessee from 2001 to 2013. But quality control data collected in conjunction with those tree grade data led us to question the validity of those observed trends. Presented by Thomas Brandeis, US Forest Service, at the 2016 SAF National Convention, Madison, WI
  • Bark Beetles Continue to Cause Snags for Forest Health: A Look at Stand Density Management in Western Forests
    We will provide an overview of recent bark beetle outbreaks in western pine forests and present how effective various forest management regimes are at reducing the risk of elevated tree mortality from bark beetles in southern California. Presented by Tom Coleman, USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection, at the 2017 SAF National Convention, Albuquerque, NM