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Vegetation

Vegetation ExamplePacific Northwest Resource Monitoring and Assessment (PNW-RMA) data help describe plant biodiversity in the region's forests, characteristics of special habitat types such as old-growth forests and riparian corridors, and status of forest components such as dead wood, tree crowns, soils, and understory vegetation.

Nonnative invasive plant species already are well established in Oregon's forested lands, making up a significant proportion of the species and plant cover present. Current trends suggest that their importance will increase.

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Projects

  • Vegetation diversity and structure indicator

    The Vegetation Diversity and Structure (VEG) Indicator is an extensive inventory of vascular plants in the forests of the United States. The VEG Indicator provides baseline data to assess trends in forest vascular plant species richness and composition, and the relative abundance and spatial distribution of those species, including invasive and introduced species. The VEG Indicator is one of several sets of measures collected by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service to assess forest health. This document describes the sampling design, field data collection methods, primary output objectives, and estimation procedures for summarizing FIA VEG data.

  • Invasives

    Invasive plant distribution and abundance and associations with forest conditions and history. Nonnative plants affect the composition and function of natural and managed ecosystems. FIA and RMA researchers are working to provide more comprehensive information on the abundance, distribution, and impact of nonnative invasive species.

    A field guide for identification of nonnative invasive plants of Pacific Coast forests. This publication provides a prioritized short list of the nonnative invasive plants having the greatest impact on forested lands in the Pacific coastal states (California, Oregon, and Washington).

  • Lichens

    This project entails predicting impacts from nitrogen pollution on forests through lichen monitoring. Epiphytic lichens (i.e. growing on woody plants) subsist almost exclusively on atmospheric moisture and nutrients, making them highly responsive to changes in air quality and forest structure and function.

  • Forest structure and function

    Forests provide vital habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species, and provide many other ecological values. Pacific Northwest Forest Inventory and Analysis (PNW-FIA) program data help describe plant biodiversity in Pacific Northwest forests, characteristics of special habitat types such as old-growth forests and riparian corridors, and status of forest components such as dead wood, tree crowns, soils, and understory vegetation. Specific projects include predicting tree distribution, growth, and mortality across large spatial and temporal scales.

  • National vegetation classification

    Vegetation composition and structure of forested ecosystems are indicators of productivity, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem function. Classifications developed to distinguish and describe local vegetation conditions can provide interpretations that are relevant to managers of these resources. A major challenge in national vegetation classification development in the Western United States is bridging the gap between the floristically derived association levels with the mid-levels defined by both physiognomic and floristic characteristics. Data sets that encompass wider regions help to clarify how floristically driven levels relate to each other and higher levels in the classification.

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