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Lichens, ozone, and forest health - exploring cross-indicator analyses with FIA data

Posted date: July 20, 2009
Publication Year: 
2009
Authors: Will-Wolf, Susan; Jovan, Sarah Dr
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 18 p.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Does air pollution risk represented by a lichen bioindicator of air pollution, an ozone bioindicator, or a combination of both, correlate with forest health as reflected by condition of tree crowns and other variables? We conducted pilot analyses to answer this question using Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data from the Sierra Nevada region of California and the New England region; they have very different environments. We started by addressing procedural and statistical issues. Several steps were required to assemble data sets for addressing this question. Currently, incomplete data availability limits the ability of an analyst not affiliated with the FIA program to conduct similar investigations. Statistical issues include data characteristics, data screening for suitability, and how to combine different variables in the same analysis. We calculated combined plot-level air pollution risk indexes from lichens and ozone data, and combined plot-level 'forest stress' indexes from two or more tree health indicators. Consultations with other FIA indicator advisors and with FIA analysts having experience with the tree variables we used were extremely important. For the Sierra Nevada region no significant correlations were found between pollution risk and 'forest stress' indexes. The next step there is to decide whether it seems worthwhile to pursue other related avenues investigating the same question. For the New England states, some correlations were significant but so weak that their biological relevance is questionable. For one of three ecoregion subgroups examined, correlations were significant and strong enough to warrant follow-up studies. In general we concluded that crown dieback and vigor variables were more useful than other tree variables, and summarizing to plot-level based on tree basal area was more useful than using tree counts. Development of more sophisticated plot-level indexes of 'forest stress' should be part of all follow-up investigations.

Citation

Will-Wolf, Susan; Jovan, Sarah. 2009. Lichens, ozone, and forest health - exploring cross-indicator analyses with FIA data. In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 18 p.