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2020 RPA Assessment

The 2020 RPA Assessment will provide a snapshot of current U.S. forest and rangelan/20d conditions (all ownerships), identify drivers of change for natural resource conditions, and project the effects of those drivers on resource conditions 50 years into the future. This assessment uses a set of future scenarios that influence the resource projections, allowing us to explore a range of possible futures for U.S. renewable natural resources. Alternative future scenarios are being used to analyze the effects of human and environmental influences on our forests and rangelands, including population growth, domestic and global economic growth, land use change, and climate change.

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2020 RPA Assessment Supporting Publications

Basic Assumptions

Langner, Linda L.; Joyce, Linda A.; Wear, David N.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P.; Coulson, David; O’Dea, Claire B. 2020. Future scenarios: A technical document supporting the USDA Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-412. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 34 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/RMRS-GTR-412

Wear, David N.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2019. Spatiotemporal downscaling of global population and income scenarios for the United States. PLOS ONE. 14(7): e0219242. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219242

Joyce, Linda A.; Coulson, David. 2020. Climate scenarios and projections: A technical document supporting the USDA Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-413. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 85 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/RMRS-GTR-413

Forests

Oswalt, Sonja N.; Smith, W. Brad; Miles, Patrick D.; Pugh, Scott A., coords. 2019. Forest Resources of the United States, 2017: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-97. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office. 223 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/WO-GTR-97

Butler, Brett J.; Butler, Sarah M.; Caputo, Jesse; Dias, Jacqueline; Robillard, Amanda; Sass, Emma M. 2020. Family forest ownerships of the United States, 2018: results from the USDA Forest Service, National Woodland Owner Survey. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-199.Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 52 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-GTR-199

Forest Products

Brandeis, Consuelo; Taylor, Marcus; Abt, Karen L.; Alderman, Delton; Buehlmann, Urs. 2021. Status and trends for the U.S. forest products sector: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-258. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 55 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/SRS-GTR-258

Johnston, Craig M.T.; Guo, Jinggang; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2021. The FOrest Resource Outlook Model (FOROM): a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-254. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 19 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/SRS-GTR-254

Landscape Patterns

Brooks, Evan B.; Coulston, John W.; Riitters, Kurt H.; Wear, Dave N. 2020. Using a hybrid demand-allocation algorithm to enable distributional analysis of land use change patterns. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240097

Nelson, Mark D.; Riitters, Kurt H.; Coulston, John W.; Domke, Grant M.; Greenfield, Eric J.; Langner, Linda L.; Nowak, David J.; O'Dea, Claire B.; Oswalt, Sonja N.; Reeves, Matthew C.; Wear, David N. 2020. Defining the United States land base: a technical document supporting the USDA Forest Service 2020 RPA assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-191. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 70 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-GTR-191

2020 RPA Assessment Data

Basic Assumptions

Wear, David N.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P. 2019. Socioeconomic data for Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2019-0041

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A. 2020. RPA Historical observational data (1979-2015) for the conterminous United States at the 1/24 degree grid scale based on MACA training data (METDATA). 2nd Edition. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0070-2

Joyce, Linda A.; Abatzoglou, John T.; Coulson, David P. 2018. Climate data for RPA 2020 Assessment: MACAv2 (METDATA) historical modeled (1950-2005) and future (2006-2099) projections for the conterminous United States at the 1/24 degree grid scale. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2018-0014

2020 RPA Assessment Webinars

Basic Assumptions

Scenarios and Projections for the USDA Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Linda Joyce, Emeritus Scientist, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Claire O’Dea, Assessment Program Manager, Washington Office R&D; Jeff Prestemon, Research Forester and Project Leader, Southern Research Station; Dave Wear, Emeritus Scientist, Southern Research Station. October 29, 2019.

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Summary: The USDA Forest Service RPA Assessment explores the effects of drivers of change - specifically economic growth, population change, climate change, and land use change - on natural resources in US forests and rangelands. Projections are made 50 years into the future using an integrated scenario planning approach. The webinar will describe the processes used to select global emissions and socioeconomic scenarios in order to downscale global projections to the national scale and subnational scale, and to select combinations of climate and socioeconomic projections that will be used in the 2020 RPA Assessment. We explore the four integrated scenarios that have been selected as the basis for the 2020 RPA Assessment projections, focusing on the socioeconomic and climate scenarios and projections separately, and on how they were integrated into four RPA scenarios, with insight into how these scenarios are being used to generate resource projections. Watch a recording of the webinar and download the presentation.

Climate Scenarios and Projections for the 2020 RPA Assessment webinar. Linda Joyce, Research Scientist, Rocky Mountain Research Station. March 7, 2018.

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This webinar explains the process used to select the climate scenarios and climate model projections that will be used in the 2020 RPA Assessment in the hopes that others can make use of the climate projections for land management planning and decision-making, or for future climate modeling and research (data is available in the FS Research Data Archive). In addition to discussing the climate scenario and climate model selection process, we describe whether climate selection would change when evaluated at the end of the 21st century vs the mid-century or at the National Forest System regional scale vs the conterminous US scale. The availability of downscaled data, RPA emission scenario selections, and analysis of individual climate models were all part of the selection process. The 2020 RPA Assessment will provide projections under two different emissions scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: the likely low end of future increased emissions (Representative Pathway Concentration (RCP) 4.5) and the likely high end of future emissions (RCP 8.5). The climate models that produced the wettest, hottest, and driest projections for each RCP scenario were selected, along with the models that produced the projections with the least change in temperature. Model performance was evaluated and considered, and no more than one model from a model family was selected. Watch a recording of the webinar and download the presentation.

Forest Resources of the United States. Sonja Oswalt, Forester, Southern Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis. June 11, 2019.

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The Forest Resources of the United States, 2017 report guides public and private investment dollars through forest health programs, recreation, tourism industries, and harvesting operations. This webinar reviews some of the key findings, in addition to highlighting the scope of information available in the report and associated data tables. This report is a supporting document to the upcoming 2020 Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, and the data originate from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program. Watch a recording of the webinar and download the presentation.

Updated: August 25, 2021