» Forests and Forestry

iTree

i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of trees and forests, and the environmental services that trees provide. Since the initial release of the i-Tree Tools in August 2006, thousands of communities, non-profit organizations, consultants, volunteers and students have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, cities, and even entire states. By understanding the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide, i-Tree users can link forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability. Whether your interest is a single tree or an entire forest, i-Tree provides baseline data that you can use to demonstrate value and set priorities for more effective decision-making. i-Tree Tools are in the public domain and are freely accessible. We invite you to explore this site to learn more about how i-Tree can make a difference in your community or forest. Read More

Wildfire management vs. fire suppression benefits forest and watershed

An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000-acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the idea that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire, with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought. Read More

Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study

The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES) pioneered the small watershed technique as a method of studying ecosystem processes. This long-term ecological research is conducted within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), a 3,160 hectare reserve in the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, owned/managed by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. On-site research has produced some of the most extensive and longest continuous data bases on the hydrology, biology, geology and chemistry of a forest and its associated aquatic ecosystems. Resources at Hubbard Brook The northeastern United States has a forest ecosystem that provides us with a stable water flow, pure water quality, recreational opportunities, diverse wildlife and a variety of forest products. The future of this resource depends on good management practices and a good understanding of this ecosystem. The Research The pioneering research at Hubbard Brook has its origins in expanding on our understanding of the science of water and chemical element cycles, soil microbial activity, soil chemical reactions, the effects of deforestation, and land management practices. That research has now expanded to include wildlife habitats, geology, and studies of human impacts on our environment, and assessment of potential methods of mitigating that impact. The diversity of research offers our next generation of scientists a good foundation in interdisciplinary collaboration and in sharing their scientific-based results. Read More

North American forests unlikely to save us from climate change, study finds

Forests take up 25-30 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide—a strong greenhouse gas—and are therefore considered to play a crucial role in mitigating the speed and magnitude of climate change. However, a new study that combines future climate model projections, historic tree-ring records across the entire continent of North America, and how the growth rates of trees may respond to a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has shown that the mitigation effect of forests will likely be much smaller in the future than previously suggested. Published in the journal Ecology Letters, the study is the first to reveal the possible impact of a changing climate on the growth rate of trees across all of North America, in other words, how their growth changes over time and in response to shifting environmental conditions. The result are detailed forecast maps for the entire North American continent that reveal how forest growth will be impacted by climate change. Read More

Linking Local Perceptions to the Biophysical and Amenity Contexts of Forest Disturbance in Colorado

Disturbances by insects have considerable effect on the heterogeneity of forested landscapes in North America. Responding to calls for bringing human dimensions of landscape disturbance and heterogeneity into ecological assessments and management strategies, this paper explores linkages between biophysical, socioeconomic, and perceptual aspects of a mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak in north central Colorado. Findings are presented from surveys conducted with residents of nine Colorado communities and variations in local perceptions of MPB risks and forest management attitudes are compared to indices of tree mortality and amenity characteristics. Findings suggest respondents from lower amenity communities with more recent emphasis on resource extraction and higher tree mortality had significantly higher risk perceptions of some MPB impacts, lower trust in federal forest management, and higher faith in forest industry and specific industry options than those from higher amenity communities with less tree mortality. While not implying these contextual influences fully explain such perceptual dimensions, this paper explores possible implications of heterogeneity across human landscapes for improving the saliency and efficiency of regional forest management and planning. Read More

Southeastern Forests and Climate Change

Project Learning Tree and the University of Florida have developed a new secondary module to help educators in the Southeast teach about climate change impacts on forest ecosystems, the role of forests in sequestering carbon, and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changing climatic conditions. The module explores these concepts in 14 experiential activities by using research related to the goals of PINEMAP—a regional research, education, and extension program focused on southern pine management and climate change. On this website, you will find the new secondary module, along with tools and resources to help you use these activities with your students. Read More

Islands on the Edge: Housing Development and Other Threats to America's Pacific and Caribbean Island Forests (2014)

This report provides an overview of expected housing density changes and related impacts to private forests on America’s islands in the Pacific and Carribbean, specifically Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The vulnerability of island forests to conversion for housing development, introduction and spread of invasive species, and risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, among other concerns are discussed. The maps and projections suggest that in localized areas from 3 to 25 percent of private forest land is likely to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030. Resource managers, developers, community leaders, and landowners should consider the impacts of housing development and invasive species on ecosystem services in coming decades. Read More

Threats to At-Risk Species in America's Private Forests: A Forests on the Edge Report

America’s private forests harbor thousands of species – from butterflies, bears, birds and bats; to salmon, snails and salamanders that inhabit streams and wetlands; to flowers, trees and shrubs that feed and protect wildlife and enrich human lives. Many native animals and plants found in private forests nationwide are at risk of decline or extinction, in part because of impacts of increasing housing development. The effects of development on at-risk species on private forests are intensified by additional impacts from fire, insects and disease. Read More

Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR)

The Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR) is the major program unit of the National Research Council responsible for organizing and overseeing studies on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, wildlife, and the use of land, water, and other natural resources. Read More

BioResources

BioResources (ISSN: 1930-2126) is a peer-reviewed online journal devoted to the science and engineering of lignocellulosic materials, chemicals, and their applications for new uses and new capabilities. Read More

Mission

EERL's mission is to be the best possible online collection of environmental and energy sustainability resources for community college educators and for their students. The resources are also available for practitioners and the public.

EERL & ATEEC

EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

Contact ATEEC 563.441.4087 or by email ateec@eicc.edu