Experimental Forest Network Engages New Partners

Integrated Ecosystem Workshop Develops Research Initiatives across the South

Scientists from across the region attended the workshop, which was held at the Jones Ecological Research Center. Photo by Stephanie Laseter, USFS.

For the past 18 months, the SRS Experimental Forest network has been working to create scientific linkages across the Station and Region. The idea of a formal network was rolled out at the inaugural meeting in March 2016.

The network is linking sites strategically across geographic domains and environmental gradients. U.S. Forest Service Experimental Forests, university forests, non-government research facilities, and state forests represent a wide range of forest types and management regimes and, through a network, can answer larger scale questions. A network will also facilitate collaborations and increase efficiency.

As part of this charge, on June 13-14, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station gathered at the Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, GA for a workshop.

Organized by Stephanie Laseter, Jim Vose, and Lindsay Boring, the workshop drew participants from across the region. Beverly Banister, director of the EPA Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division was an invited speaker, and participants represented a number of organizations:

  • SRS Experimental Forest network: Mac Callaham, John Hom, and Devendra Amatya.
  • Universities: Gregg Starr, University of Alabama; Tom O’Halloran, Clemson University; Tim Martin and Rosvel Brancho, University of Florida; Asko Noormets, NC State University; and Tae Hee Hwang, Indiana University.
  • Savannah River Ecology Lab: Doug Aubrey.
  • Jones Ecological Research Center: Steven Brantley, Seth Bigelow and Scott Taylor.

Most of the scientists who attended the workshop are currently researching carbon, water, eddy covariance, air quality, and remote sensing and are using models to predict impacts of increased risks to forests and accompanied growing demands for ecosystem services.

field trip
Photo by Stephanie Laseter, USFS.

The workshop objectives were:

  • Site presentations on our state-of-knowledge.
  • Develop increased networking among sites currently conducting research on southeastern forest ecosystems spanning carbon and hydrologic cycles, and air quality research.
  • Identify opportunities for cross-analysis and publication, collaborative external grant opportunities, and identification of gaps (knowledge and geographic).
  • Explore and develop new opportunities to answer both ecosystem specific and regional questions on the growing need for air quality research to complement ongoing carbon and water measurements, especially related to emissions from prescribed fire and wildfires.

Presentations and discussions focused on approaches and tools (such as eddy covariance systems and process-based models) to help meet the challenges of the 21st century. To meet these challenges, the newly networked group will begin integrating measurements and models, and leveraging technology among the participating sites.

Access the meeting presentations and agenda.

For more information, contact Stephanie Laseter at slaseter@fs.fed.us.

Access the latest publications by SRS scientists.  

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