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Pacific Northwest Research Station

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2011 Forests and Grasslands Research

Key Findings and Products

New field guide highlights 56 of the most prevalent or problematic nonnative invasive plants in Pacific Coast forests.

Landscape models indicate that sage grouse breeding habitat may historically have been more abundant than current management plans recommend.

Spatial modeling helps land managers locate sudden oak death in Oregon and prioritize eradication efforts.



New field guide highlights nonnative invasive plants found in Pacific Coast forests

Nonnative plants affect the composition and function of natural and managed ecosystems. They can limit or degrade land use options and can be costly to eradicate. Despite their influence, very little comprehensive information on the abundance, distribution, and impact of nonnative invasive plants is available. To remedy this, researchers developed a prioritized list of nonnative invasive plants affecting forest lands in the Pacific coastal states of California, Oregon, and Washington. They produced a field guide featuring 56 invasive plants believed to be the most prevalent or problematic. The color photos of each plant in various stages of development and written descriptions in nontechnical language facilitate reliable identification in the field.

The PNW Forest Inventory and Analysis program (FIA) is considering adopting the list and guide for targeted sampling of nonnative plants. Future FIA analyses would be able to assess the distribution and impact of these key nonnative species more effectively than current protocols.

Contact: Andy Gray,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Partners: Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Washington

For more information: Gray, A.N.; Barndt, K.; Reichard, S.H. 2011. Nonnative invasive plants of Pacific coast forests: a field guide for identification. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-817. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 91 p.


Seeding native grasses on soil with Scotch broom seeds slows development of this invasive species


A greenhouse experiment found that native grasses slowed growth of invasive Scotch broom seedlings (Photo by Tim Harrington).Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a large nonnative shrub that has invaded forest and prairie sites throughout western Oregon and Washington. It produces many seeds that remain viable for several years, enabling Scotch broom to occupy sites for decades. Several native grasses of the Pacific Northwest, however, show promise as effective competitors for inhibiting development of Scotch broom seedlings.

In greenhouse experiments, three native perennial grass species were seeded into soils containing Scotch broom seeds. Biomass of Scotch broom seedlings decreased by 72 to 90 percent when grown under grass competition. The most competitive species, spike bentgrass (Agrostis exarata), was able to colonize all growing space and deplete soil water rapidly. The least competitive species, western fescue (Festuca occidentalis), developed more slowly. When combined with Scotch broom control treatments and seedbed preparation, native grass seeding is a promising approach for restoring invaded areas to native grasslands.

Contact: Tim Harrington,, Threat Characterization and Management Program

Partner: Center for Invasive Plant Management, Bozeman, Montana


Seed transfer zones for mountain brome identified


At the Central Ferry Research Farm in Washington, a geneticist looks for variation in mountain brome grown from different seed sources (Photo by Richard C. Johnson).

Use: National forests in northeast Oregon and southwest Washington are using these newly identified seed transfer zones in restoration efforts.

Mountain brome (Bromus carinatus) is a grass commonly used in restoration efforts. This means that populations are regularly transferred from one place to another. This research addresses questions about how far populations may be moved and still adapt to the new environment.

Researchers used common-garden studies at two contrasting test sites to evaluate mountain brome from a range of environments in the Blue Mountains. They found that plant traits varied significantly among populations and were frequently correlated to gradients of precipitation and temperature at source locations. The relationships between traits and climates were used to develop maps of genetic variation in multivariate adaptive traits, which were in turn used to delineate seed transfer zones for mountain brome in the Blue Mountains.

Seed transfer zones for mountain brome are being used by the Malheur, Ochoco, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests to ensure that plant material used in restoration is adapted to the prevailing environmental conditions.

Contact: Brad St. Clair,, Land and Watershed Management Program

Partners: USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Forest System


Native grasses need time but are part of an effective restoration effort

Worldwide , invasive exotic plants have become one of the most pressing issues of grassland conservation and management. Herbicides are the primary method used to control invasive plants. Working in the Oregon Wenaha Wildlife Area, station scientists evaluated restoration efforts applied to grasslands dominated by the invasive plant, sulfur cinquefoil, 6 years after treatments. They found that combining herbicide use with sowing native grass seed was an effective grassland restoration strategy, when combined with temporary livestock exclusion.

Of the five herbicides they evaluated, picloram best controlled sulfur cinquefoil during the study. However, without the addition of native perennial grass seeds, the sites continued to be dominated by exotic grasses. Seeding with native perennial grasses resulted in a 20-percent decrease in exotic grass cover, although success of was not apparent until 6 years after treatment. Seeding success of grassland restoration projects may appear poor in the first years because of the slow growth of native perennial grass species in the interior West, even though recovery is well underway.

Contact: Catherine Parks,, Threat Characterization and Management Program

Partners: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Wallowa Resources


Scientists model cheatgrass invasion and pinyon-juniper woodland encroachment into sagebrush


Few large, old juniper remain from the years prior to Euro-American settlement (Photo by Mary Rowland).Sagebrush ecosystems are one of the most imperiled in the United States, and the Great Basin ecoregion is particularly threatened by nonnative, invasive cheatgrass and encroaching pinyon-juniper woodland. Cheatgrass invasion can alter fire cycles, leading to more frequent and intense fires that eventually eliminate sagebrush shrublands. Pinyon-juniper encroachment can lead to soil erosion, altered plant communities, losses in forage production, and high risk of crown fires.

Station scientists developed models to predict the risk of cheatgrass invasion and woodland encroachment across watersheds of the Great Basin. They found that watersheds differ in their spatial patterns of habitat abundance and risk, resulting in different implications for conservation and restoration. In central Oregon, they found that the densities and distribution of juniper trees pose substantial risk to sagebrush. Few of the juniper trees that were growing prior to Euro-American settlement (about 140 years ago) remain, and high densities of juniper seedlings and postsettlement junipers indicate extensive encroachment into sagebrush. This information can guide active restoration through targeted removal of encroaching juniper in sagebrush communities in this region.

Land managers from the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management have used these model projections to quantify potential habitat loss to sagebrushassociated species and to highlight watersheds for potential restoration.

Contact: Mary Rowland,, Ecological Process and Function Program

Partners: USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Washington Office Terrestrial Ecology Unit


Encroaching juniper and exotic grasses threaten shrub steppe in southeast Oregon


Encroaching young juniper threaten to alter sagebrush ecosystems (Photo by Mary Rowland).Many threats are jeopardizing the shrub steppe of the Columbia Basin, including the spread of invasive species such as cheatgrass and expansion of western juniper into shrub steppe beyond its historical range. Native shrub steppe provides important habitat for many wildlife species and is valued for its biodiversity. Land managers have asked for tools to assess risk of shrub steppe conversion and management options for maintaining native shrub steppe. The Integrated Landscape Assessment Project used a state-and-transition modeling approach to project changes in shrub steppe vegetation over time. Without aggressive management, cheatgrass is expected to increase in many warm, dry Wyoming big sagebrush communities, and juniper invasion is likely to expand throughout much of the cool, moist mountain big sagebrush habitat where seed sources are readily available. In transitional communities between Wyoming big sagebrush and mountain big sagebrush zones, researchers expect much of the landscape to convert to either cheatgrass or juniper woodland.

Contact: Miles Hemstrom,, Focused Science Delivery Program

Partners: Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University


Postfire cattle grazing affects ponderosa pine forest understory plants more than reintroduction of fire


Researchers examined the effects of prescribed burns and grazing on understory vegetation in a ponderosa pine forest (Photo by Becky Kerns).Prescribed fire is used to manage and restore millions of acres of forests in western North America, and livestock grazing occurs on approximately 91 percent of all federal lands in the West. Yet, few studies have experimentally examined the interaction of prescribed fire and cattle grazing in western interior forests. To better understand ecosystem response to these combined management regimes, station scientists evaluated grazing effects (grazing, no grazing) on ponderosa pine plant communities over five growing seasons after prescribed fire reburns (spring, fall, no burn). They found that for all treatments (including no burning), excluding cattle grazing for five seasons significantly increased the total vegetative cover, native perennial forb cover, grass height, grass flowering density, and shrub cover. The 5-year study found that grazing exclusion in this setting caused a greater degree of change in vegetation than the initial reintroduction of fire.

Contact: Becky Kerns,, Threat Characterization and Management Program

Partner: USDA Forest Service Malheur National Forest


Retaining logging debris on site sustains soil productivity

Logging debris that remains after forest harvesting is currently viewed by some land managers as a hindrance to tree planting, a source of fuels for wildfire, and a potential feedstock for energy, but new research indicates that it provides important ecosystem functions. At two sites in western Oregon and Washington, logging debris was found to act as a mulch to conserve soil water, and the additional water promoted survival and growth of planted Douglas-fir seedlings. On soils low in carbon and nitrogen, retaining logging debris resulted in greater accumulations of these elements after 5 years, compared to areas where debris had been removed. By insulating and cooling the soil surface, the debris reduced losses of soil carbon from microbial respiration or leaching of soluble forms. These accumulations of soil carbon and nitrogen will help to improve and sustain productivity of forest soils.

Glacial outwash soils of the Puget Sound region are likely to benefit from logging debris retention after forest harvesting because of their droughty, coarse texture and innately small pools of soil carbon and nitrogen.

Contact: Tim Harrington,, Threat Characterization and Management Program

Partners: Green Diamond Resource Company; Port Blakely Tree Farms, LLC; Virginia Tech; University of Minnesota


Site quality indicators and maximum stand density calculated for western redcedar


Use: Public and private forests use findings to manage western redcedar

Western redcedar is an ecologically and economically important tree species in the Pacific Northwest. Its ability to grow in deep shade makes it as an important component in forest stands with multiple canopy layers. It is a species that most people can identify on sight, but surprisingly little information was available on its growth rates under various stand and management conditions and how environmental variables influence site quality. To remedy this, station scientists compiled data from more than 73,000 trees from several western states and Canadian provinces to look at these relationships. They also examined data from research trials on thinning and fertilization and from a large network of ecology plots. They determined the climate variables most important for site quality of redcedar and calculated maximum stand density index—a parameter in many growth models. They also compared growth rates of western redcedar to Douglas-fir, a common tree associate, under different types of stand conditions.

Managers from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Green Crow, and Starker Forests are using this information to identify areas to plant redcedar and stands that warrant thinning, and to evaluate the projected effects of alternative management scenarios.

Contact: Connie Harrington,, Land and Watershed Management Program

Partners: British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Green Crow, Starker Forests, Washington Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region


Scientists develop cost-effective method for identifying genetic markers in threatened and endangered conifer species


These young Port-Orford cedars are resistant to an introduced root rot fungus (<em>Phytophthora lateralis</em>) that has decimated much of the species.
			Station scientists are working with partners to screen potential clones for genetic resistance to the fungus (Photo by Dorena Genetic Resource Center).

Use: PNW and Alaska Regions use genetic markers in efforts to conserve Port-Orford cedar and yellow-cedar.

Conser ving and managing natural populations requires accurate and inexpensive genotyping methods to identify parentage, movement and migration, estimates of effective population sizes, and rates of inbreeding. Microsatellites are among the most popular genetic markers because they are easy to use, simple to analyze, and clearly identify genetic differences. Microsatellite development has historically been prohibitively expensive, and has been sparingly applied to domesticated species and species of the highest conservation concern. By adapting multiplexed massively parallel sequencing an approach pioneered by PNW Research Station geneticists—station scientists developed a cost-effective method for identifying thousands of microsatellite markers from any organism. They used this approach to identify more than 1 million genetic markers for 30 conifer and bird species.

These markers are helping to guide Phytopthoraresistance breeding in Port-Orford cedar in the Pacific Northwest, and to characterize genetic variation in yellow-cedar in the Alaska Region. Genetic markers are available for threatened whitebark pine and torrey pine, charismatic giant sequoia, and landscape dominants like ponderosa pine. These genetic tools are available without restriction at

Contact: Rich Cronn,, Land and Watershed Management Program

Partners: Oregon State University; USDA Forest Service Special Technology and Development Program, Dorena Genetic Resource Center; U.S. Geological Survey


Drought-related constraints on Douglas-fir growth are not primarily those of photosynthesis

As trees grow, they sequester increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon, and thus have a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Climate projections for many areas of the western United States indicate the likelihood of longer dry spells, which would inhibit tree growth. The exact mechanisms behind drought and decreased tree growth, however, are not known.

To better understand this, researchers analyzed shoot growth, plant and soil water stress, and storage of nonstructural carbohydrates in stem wood, branch tips, and foliage of Douglas-fir across a range of tree heights over 17 months. They found that contrary to previously accepted hypotheses, increasing drought severity leads to scenarios in which photosynthesis is less a determinant of productivity than other factors such as cell expansion and long-distance transport of carbon within trees.

Findings from this study can be used to improve models in which tree growth is primarily determined by the degree to which parameters such as humidity, soil moisture, and temperature limit a tree’s ability to obtain carbon via photosynthesis. This may improve our understanding of how current and future climates may influence forest productivity.

Contact: David Woodruff,, Ecological Process and Function Program


Greater demand for bioenergy could lead to less forest land, more cropland in Midwest


Land use in the United States is influenced by many economic and social factors. One of the most important recent influences on land use in the United States has been the increasing use of corn-based ethanol in bioenergy production. High energy prices have sparked substantial growth in ethanol production and demand for corn, which could lead to loss of forests as landowners shift to agricultural uses.

Station scientists explored the relationship between land use and aesthetic or environmental values for forest land in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Results suggest that as population density increases, desire for aesthetic amenities associated with open space or recreation could potentially lead to more forest land, relative to cropland. With a higher emphasis on bioenergy, however, a dramatically different future is presented, in which large areas of forest land are lost in the next 40 years.

Contact: Ralph Alig,, Goods, Services, and Values Program


Initial reduction in carbon pools following fuel treatment is likely temporary

Station scientists applied species-specific regional equations for tree volume and aboveground live tree biomass estimations to a landscape in central Oregon. They demonstrated how outputs from vegetation simulation models can be used for a variety of landscape analyses, including timber products, biomass supply, and carbon accounting under an active fuel treatment management scenario.

The simulations suggest that an active fuel-treatment management approach might initially reduce the amount of carbon stored in trees. After the first 50 years of the 300-year simulation, aboveground carbon pools in forests less susceptible to severe wildfire or insect outbreaks were increasing steadily and approaching what they had been prior to fuel treatments.

Contact: Xiaoping Zhou,, Focused Science Delivery Program


With sufficient incentive, Alaska forests could be managed to store carbon

Maybeso Experimental Forest, Alaska (Photo by Tom Iraci).The Environmental Protection Agency is considering mechanisms to control the emission of greenhouse gases, which pose a threat to the environment and public health. One regulatory tool being considered is a cap and trade system, in which a ceiling is set for allowable carbon dioxide emissions, and forest management activities that increase carbon sequestration or reduce use of fossil fuels can be assigned a dollar value and sold to an emitting organization. With Alaska’s vast forests, which account for 17 percent of all forest land in the United States, this type of system could have a substantial impact here. Station scientists developed a report that addresses the basic principles of a cap and trade system and its potential impact on Alaska’s forest stakeholders. However, because Alaska forest landowners would face high operating costs for afforestation and reforestation projects, the price of carbon offsets would have to be high enough to cover these costs and provide a reasonable return on investment.

Contact: Allen Brackley,, Goods, Services, and Values Program

Partners: University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Washington


Choice of model influences live-tree carbon estimates


The power of models will transmute this diameter measurement into an estimate of live carbon mass (the sum of stem, branches,
			bark, and roots) for this tree, which will be expanded several thousand-fold to account for all the trees in the forested landscape that this sample tree represents (Photo by Jeremy Fried).Estimates of the amount of carbon stored in a tree are influenced by numerous uncertainties. One of them is model-selection uncertainty: the user has to choose among multiple empirical equations and conversion factors that can be plausibly justified as locally applicable to calculate the carbon store from inventory measurements such as tree height and diameter at breast height. Researchers quantified model-selection uncertainty for the five most common tree species in northwest Oregon. They found that model-selection error may introduce 20 to 40 percent uncertainty into a live-tree carbon estimate, making this form of error the largest source of uncertainty when estimating live-tree carbon stores. Uncertainty from sampling error, represented as a 95-percent confidence interval, was only 6 percent. Predicted carbon content of individual trees can vary even more among model aggregating pathways, especially the predictions for large trees, which on the Pacific Coast comprise an unusually large share of carbon stores.

Model-selection uncertainty is not an easily remedied error and may call into question the premise of tracking forest carbon with the precision and accuracy required to support contemplated offset protocols. The greatest risk is the potential for choosing a particular calculation pathway to justify a preferred outcome.

Contact: Jeremy Fried,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Partner: Oregon State University


Knot detection improves with nondestructive method for assessing wood quality


A technician marks veneer sheets to determine if wood-product properties can be predicted from acoustically tested tree properties (Photo by Dean Perry).Knots and other defects in wood products come in a variety of sizes, shapes, types, and colors. When products are visually inspected, it can be difficult to accurately assess the effects of these defects on wood quality. Researchers found that acoustic technology tools are simple to use and a relatively inexpensive way to test wood quality. They took acoustic velocity measurements of Douglas-fir trees in Oregon and Washington using hand-held sensors. Veneer sheets were subsequently peeled from felled trees, and were then digitally analyzed for wood quality characteristics. The researchers found that the digital knot detection technique was accurate and can be used to create digital log models. They are continuing to use acoustic measurement to investigate the relationship between the average stiffness of veneer sheets, stiffness of the log, and stiffness of the parent tree from a range of silvicultural treatments. This technology has the potential to add value all along the forest-to-products chain.

Contact: Eini Lowell,, Goods, Services, and Values Program

Partners: Scion Research


Updated log-to-lumber conversion rates reflect improved utilization of small logs


Because mills use small logs more efficiently than in the past, log-to-lumber conversion rates needed to be updated (Photo by USDA Forest Service).Over the past 40 years, sawmills in the western United States have become more efficient. They now produce more lumber while using less timber. This efficiency occurred even as the size of logs used by sawmills decreased. This finding, based on a review of forest industry surveys, meant the primary technique for estimating lumber production based on volume of harvest wood was now outdated. The Scribner Log Rule was developed in 1846 and was designed to estimate board foot volume that could be produced from a log. As the wood-processing industry has diversified to produce not only lumber but pulp, composite panels, and wood-based fuels, the industry needs to be able to accurately estimate the volume of wood fiber available for use.

Thus, scientists updated conversion rates and recovery factors that are essential for estimating production efficiency, timber supply and demand, and whole-tree volume, which is required for biomass assessments and carbon accounting.

Contact: Jean Daniels,, Goods, Services, and Values Program

Partners: University of Montana, Western Washington University


Forest Inventory and Analysis in the Pacific Islands


Field crew work around tidal fluctuations as they inventory forest conditions in a mangrove
			swamp on the island of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia (Photo by Mika Falaniko). Researchers collected, analyzed, and summarized field data gathered on islands throughout the western Pacific. They summarized forest information for the Federated States of Micronesia and compared it to prior vegetation mapping work done there. Researchers found that the extreme diversity of vegetation across Micronesia can be attributed to differences in longitudinal climatic influences and human land use practices. Similar data collection and analysis of forest resources were done on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; there researchers found that urban areas have grown, contributing to losses in forest land area. On the Marshall Islands, rising sea level is threatening numerous native plant species.

Data and summaries from these inventories are used by island groups to develop their statewide assessments and resource strategies that enable them to compete for funding. The data also are used to guide resource management and policy decisions.

Contact: Joseph Donnegan,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Partners: American Samoa Forestry; Department of Land and Natural Resources, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Federated States of Micronesia Forestry; Kosrae Forestry; Marshall Islands Forestry; National Tropical Botanical Garden; University of Guam; USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station Region, State and Private Forestry


Collaboration explores an ecosystem services stewardship approach on national forests


Scott Lake, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon (Photo by Jim Hughes).The PNW Research Station is collaborating with the Deschutes National Forest to explore how an ecosystem services approach could be used to organize and enhance forest stewardship activities in central Oregon. Current natural resource agency accounting systems define management accomplishments in terms of output-oriented program targets, such as board feet of timber sold or acres treated to reduce fire risk. These metrics describe actions undertaken, but do not account for the nonmarket goods and services provided by public lands. This project provides examples of how management activities and performance measures could be characterized in terms of ecosystem services.

This project aims to apply an operational ecosystem service approach in a forest management context. It uses the Deschutes National Forest as a place-based model showing how ecosystem services could be used as a framework for enhancing forest stewardship. It is demonstrating the possibilities of this approach in a way relevant to managers and policymakers.

Contact: Robert Deal,, Goods, Services, and Values Program

Partners: Defenders of Wildlife, Willamette Partnership, USDA Forest Service Deschutes National Forest


Airborne laser data combined with field surveys facilitates landscape planning


Use: Malheur National Forest uses data to select stands for fuel reduction treatments.

Foresters rely on inventory data to understand the condition and distribution of the trees they manage. Traditionally, this information came from stand exams, which can be labor-intensive and difficult to obtain for landscape-scale management decisions. This study, conducted on the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon, found that Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data, in combination with field plots, generated a stand-level forest inventory of structural attributes comparable to one produced from stand exams. By exploring the potential of remote sensing technologies to provide landscape-scale data, this study helps forest science stay current with the evolving needs of forest managers. In turn, landscape-scale data can support a variety of research objectives, which can facilitate the integration of disciplines and enhance collaborative landscape planning and assessments.

Malheur National Forest staff helped design and implement this study, and are using the results to weigh the cost-effectiveness of traditional forest inventory versus satellite and LIDAR-derived estimates of forest structure. They are also using the data to identify target stands for fuel-reduction treatments. Study results are also being used in the National Enhanced Elevation Assessment, which is sponsored by the National Digital Elevation Program and includes the Forest Service, other agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.

Contact: Susan Hummel,, Goods, Services, and Values Program

Partners: Malheur National Forest; Michigan Technological University; USDA Remote Sensing Applications Center, Rocky Mountain Research Station


New models help detect spread of sudden oak death


Oregon white oak stand (Photo by James Dolllins).

Use: Oregon Department of Forestry uses models in eradication efforts.

Sudden oak death (SOD) was discovered in Oregon forests in 2001. Despite considerable control efforts, the disease continues to spread. In response, scientists developed two models to map where SOD was likely to become established and its risk of spread. The scientists determined that 40 square miles of forested land were likely invaded by 2009, and that the disease threatens more than 1,300 square miles of forests across western Oregon. The greatest risk is in southwest Oregon where susceptible host species, such as tanoak, are concentrated. The Oregon Department of Forestry and other agencies are using the models to prioritize early detection and eradication efforts in the state.

Contact: Janet Ohmann,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Partners: Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte




Forest Sector Carbon Calculator Software (FSCC)

Description: This online tool allows users to compare how stores of carbon in the forest and in forest products change over time following forest harvest and wildfire. The calculator is designed to give users a way to compare the short- and long-term effects of different forest management practices, wildfire occurrence, and assumptions about forest product use. It contains tutorials and produces graphs and data that can be downloaded for further analysis. It is intended to complement more technical models that are used to give precise estimates of actual levels of carbon storage for particular stands or landscapes with good forest inventory information.

Use: This carbon calculator is designed for forest managers and educators who want to know how forest management practices might affect carbon storage and flux in forests and forest products. The tool will facilitate more informed debates, decisions, and policies concerning carbon and forest management.

How to get it:

Contact: Tom Spies,, Ecological Process and Function Program


Virtual Trail for Olympic Habitat Development Study

Description: This interactive Web site features photos, maps, and original artwork. Visitors can explore a study site on the Olympic Peninsula and learn about some of the silvicultural techniques that have been suggested for use in accelerating the development of structures and ecological communities associated with old-growth forests.

Use: Natural resource professionals are using it to learn more about variable-density thinning, an experimental technique being used to accelerate development of old-growth characteristics. It will also be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the plants and animals found in conifer forests on the Olympic Peninsula.

How to get it:

Contact: Connie Harrington,, Land and Watershed Management Program


Seedlot Selection Tool

Description: The Seedlot Selection Tool is a GIS mapping program designed to help forest managers match seedlots with planting sites based on climate information. The tool can be used to map current climates, or future climates based on selected climate change scenarios.

Use: Although the Seedlot Selection Tool is tailored for matching seedlots and planting sites, it can be used by anyone interested in mapping present or future climates defined by temperature and precipitation. Forest geneticists in the Pacific Northwest and the eastern United States have begun to use this tool to map climates corresponding to specific seed zones of interest, explore the ranges of climates within seed zones, and indicate how the locations of those climates change in the future.

How to get it:

Contact: Brad St. Clair,, Land and Watershed Management Program

Partner: Oregon State University


Center for Forest Provenance Data

Description: The Center for Forest Provenance Data is a centralized data and information management system designed to archive data from long-term provenancetests and seedling genecology studies and make those data available to facilitate collaboration among researchers. A provenance test is a planting where population samples from different geographical areas are grown together in one or more locations.

Use: The Center for Forest Provenance Data promotes national and international collaboration among researchers studying the genetics of adaptation, as well as natural and managed responses to climate change. Over the past century, many provenance studies of forest trees have been established around the world, resulting in considerable long-term field data and seedling genecological information. These data are invaluable for developing and refining seed transfer guidelines, testing forest growth models, and understanding how trees will respond to climate change, as well as other uses yet to be determined. Researchers have begun to archive data in the database and make it available for collaboration.

How to get it:

Contact: Brad St. Clair,, Land and Watershed Management Program

Partner: Oregon State University


LandTrendr and TimeSync

Description: These tools are used in tandem to detect trends in forest disturbance and recovery. LandTrendr (Landsat-based detection of Trends in Disturbance and Recovery) is a mapping tool that automatically extracts information on land surface changes (e.g., fire, insect and disease damage, timber harvesting or regrowth) from Landsat satellite imagery. TimeSync is a companion image interpretation software tool for synchronizing algorithm and human interpretations of Landsat imagery. These tools capture both short-duration events such as harvest and fire, and long-term trends such as declines in forest health and regrowth. Researchers can use these new tools to comprehensively map change over every Landsat pixel (30 m) since 1972 in forested ecosystems and understand the accuracy of the maps.

Use: The Center for Forest Provenance Data promotes national and international collaboration among researchers studying the genetics of adaptation, as well as natural and managed responses to climate change. Over the past century, many provenance studies of forest trees have been established around the world, resulting in considerable long-term field data and seedling genecological information. These data are invaluable for developing and refining seed transfer guidelines, testing forest growth models, and understanding how trees will respond to climate change, as well as other uses yet to be determined. Researchers have begun to archive data in the database and make it available for collaboration.

How to get it:

Contact: Warren Cohen,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Partner: Oregon State University, NASA, University of Maryland, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station



Description: This tool allows users to work with the database populated and maintained by the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Forest Inventory and Analysis team. Users can answer questions about the status and trends of forest resources by summarizing data on live and dead trees, down woody materials (fuels), and understory vegetation.

Use: Resource managers and policymakers can use this tool to help inform their decisionmaking process. The LANDFIRE project used the database to update its comprehensive fuels maps and spatial data layers for the Pacific Northwest. The California Climate Action Registry used the database to develop baseline levels of carbon stocks in private forests in the state. The database was used to quickly respond to congressional requests about biomass size distribution and the availability of wood supplies from national forests.

Contact: Karen Waddell,, Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday,18November2014 at14:53:02CST

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