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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Which American Forest Tree Species are Most at Risk

Snapshot : Several threats will increase the risk that forest trees could experience population-level or species-level extinction under climate change scenarios, but differences in traits of individual species could result in widely varying responses to these threats. Determining how to prioritize species for management and conservation activities will pose a particular challenge in species-rich regions. To address this challenge, a cooperating scientist with the Southern Research Station Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EETAC) developed the Forest Tree Genetic Risk Assessment System (ForGRAS) framework, which is already being used by Forest Service managers to identify species at risk for management planning.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kevin Potter 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 429

Summary

A variety of threats, most importantly climate change and insect and disease infestation, will increase the risk that forest tree could experience population-level or species-level extinction. Species, however, differ in important traits such as life-history strategies and population dynamics that could drive widely varying responses to potential threats. Determining how to prioritize species for management and conservation activities in the face of these threats will pose a particular challenge in species-rich regions. To address this challenge, a cooperating scientist with EFETAC has developed a framework that allows managers to assess the relative risk of genetic degradation to forest trees affected by multiple threats.

Known as the Forest Tree Genetic Risk Assessment System (ForGRAS), the framework is being used by the Forest Service Southern and Pacific Northwest Regions to identify species at risk as a step towards developing management plans. ForGRAS is a flexible approach, allowing application at multiple scales and across any area for which data exist on the population dynamics and distribution of the species of interest. ForGRAS information and materials are available at www.forestthreats.org/current-projects/project-summaries/genetic-risk-assessment-system.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Regions 8 and 6
  • Forest Health Monitoring Program, North Carolina State University