Southern Research Station Headquarters - Asheville, NC
Main Logo of Southern Research Station, Stating: Southern Research Station - Asheville, NC, with a saying of 'Science you can use!'
[Images] Five photos of different landscape

Compass issue 10
Download issue 11 PDF

Compass is a quarterly publication of the USDA Forest Service's Southern Research Station (SRS). As part of the Nation's largest forestry research organization -- USDA Forest Service Research and Development -- SRS serves 13 Southern States and beyond. The Station's 130 scienists work in more than 20 units located across the region at Federal laboratories, universites, and experimental forests.

Small logo of the USDASmall logo of the Forest Service Shield

Issue 11

New Products

Natural Resources Inventory and Monitoring

1 Bechtold, William A.; Patterson, Paul L., eds. 2005. The enhanced forest inventory and analysis program—national sampling design and estimation procedures. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-80. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 85 p.

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service is in the process of moving from a system of quasi-independent, regional, periodic inventories to an enhanced program featuring greater national consistency, annual measurement of a proportion of plots in each State, new reporting requirements, and integration with the ground-sampling component of the Forest Health Monitoring Program. This documentation presents an overview of the conceptual changes, explains the three phases of FIA’s sampling design, describes the sampling frame and plot configuration, presents the estimators that form the basis of FIA’s National Information Management System (NIMS), and shows how annual data are combined for analysis. It also references a number of Web-based supplementary documents that provide greater detail about some of the more obscure aspects of the sampling and estimation system, as well as examples of calculations for most of the common estimators produced by FIA.

2 Bentley, James W.; Lowe, Larry. 2007. Kentucky’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product output and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-124. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 32 p.

In 2005, roundwood output from Kentucky’s forests totaled 191 million cubic feet, 3 percent more than in 2003. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers increased 2 percent to 91 million cubic feet. Ninety-six percent of plant residues were used, primarily for fuel, miscellaneous, and fiber products. Saw logs were the leading roundwood product at 143 million cubic feet; pulpwood ranked a distant second at 25 million cubic feet; composite panels were third at 14 million cubic feet. The number of primary processing plants declined from 297 in 2003 to 292 in 2005. Total receipts increased 2 percent to 214 million cubic feet.

3 Bentley, James W.; Schnabel, Doug. 2007. Tennessee’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product output and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-126. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 31 p.

In 2005, roundwood output from Tennessee’s forests was 325 million cubic feet. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers totaled 119 million cubic feet. Seventy-three percent of the plant residues were used primarily for fuel and fiber products. Saw logs were the leading roundwood product at 189 million cubic feet; pulpwood ranked second at 121 million cubic feet; other industrial products were third at 13 million cubic feet. There were 354 primary processing plants operating in Tennessee in 2005. Total receipts amounted to 322 million cubic feet.

4 Brandeis, Thomas J.; Helmer, Eileen H.; Oswalt, Sonja N. 2007. The status of Puerto Rico’s forests, 2003. Resour. Bull. SRS-119. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 72 p.

The third forest inventory of Puerto Rico shows the islands’ continued recovery from past widespread deforestation. Forest cover has reached 57 percent for mainland Puerto Rico, 85 percent for Vieques, and 88 percent for Culebra, although these forests are still mostly made up of young stands of smaller trees. The most important tree species were the African tuliptree (Spathodea campanulata), American muskwood (Guarea guidonia), cabbagebark tree (Andira inermis), and pumpwood (Cecropia schreberiana). Few trees were unhealthy or stressed, and widespread pest and disease problems were not observed. Down woody materials and forest fire fuel were estimated for the first time.

5 Brandeis, Thomas J.; Oswalt, Sonja N. 2007. The status of U.S. Virgin Islands’ forests, 2004. Resour. Bull. SRS-122. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 61 p.

The first forest inventory of the U.S. Virgin Islands found that forest covered 61 percent of the islands. St. John had the highest percentage forest cover (92 percent), followed by St. Thomas (74 percent), and St. Croix (50 percent). Forest cover decreased 7 percent from 1994 to 2004, a loss of 1671 ha of forest. These forests are mostly young, undeveloped stands, reflecting past and present land use and disturbances. Black mampoo (Guapira fragrans) was the most important tree, followed by gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba), and genip (Melicoccus bijugatus), while tan tan (Leucaena leucocephala) was the most important smaller-sized tree.

6 Johnson, Tony G.; Becker, Charles W. 2007. Virginia’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-125. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 34 p.

In 2005, roundwood output from Virginia’s forests increased 3 percent to 503 million cubic feet. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers totaled 179 million cubic feet, 5 percent more than in 2003. Seventy-three percent of the plant residues were used primarily for fuel and fiber products. Saw logs were the leading roundwood product at 228 million cubic feet; pulpwood ranked second at 200 million cubic feet; composite panels were third at 57 million cubic feet. The number of primary processing plants declined from 234 in 2003 to 196 in 2005. Total receipts increased 5 percent to 515 million cubic feet.

7 Johnson, Tony G.; Mann, Michael C. 2007. North Carolina’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-127. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 33 p.

In 2005, industrial roundwood output from North Carolina’s forests totaled 784 million cubic feet, 1 percent more than in 2003. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers declined 3 percent to 306 million cubic feet. Almost all plant residues were used primarily for fuel and fiber products. Saw logs were the leading roundwood product at 400 million cubic feet; pulpwood ranked second at 274 million cubic feet; veneer logs were third at 60 million cubic feet. The number of primary processing plants declined from 235 in 2003 to 180 in 2005. Total receipts increased 9 million cubic feet to 751 million cubic feet.

8 Johnson, Tony G.; McClure, Nathan; Wells, John L. 2007. Georgia’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-123. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 36 p.

In 2005, industrial roundwood output from Georgia’s forests totaled 1.17 billion cubic feet, 1 percent more than in 2003. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers increased 4 percent to 433 million cubic feet. Almost all plant residues were used primarily for fuel and fiber products. Pulpwood was the leading roundwood product at 543 million cubic feet; saw logs ranked second at 458 million cubic feet; veneer logs were third at 74 million cubic feet. The number of primary processing plants was down from 187 in 2003 to 181 in 2005. Total receipts increased 3 percent, from 1.17 billion cubic feet in 2003 to 1.21 billion cubic feet in 2005.

9 Johnson, Tony G.; Smith, Nathan. 2007. South Carolina’s timber industry—an assessment of timber product and use, 2005. Resour. Bull. SRS-121. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 28 p.

In 2005, industrial roundwood output from South Carolina’s forests totaled 645 million cubic feet, 13 percent more than in 2003. Mill byproducts generated from primary manufacturers increased 10 percent to 186 million cubic feet. Almost all plant residues were used primarily for fuel and fiber products. Pulpwood was the leading roundwood product at 318 million cubic feet; saw logs ranked second at 258 million cubic feet; veneer logs were third at 42 million cubic feet. The number of primary processing plants remained at 75 in 2005. Total receipts increased 8 percent to 582 million cubic feet.

10 Oswalt, Sonja N.; Brandeis, Thomas J.; Woodall, Christopher W. 2008. Contribution of dead wood to biomass and carbon stocks in the Caribbean: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Biotropica. 40(1): 20-27.

There is little information about dead wood in tropical ecosystems. Our goal was to fill knowledge gaps in current Caribbean carbon and biomass literature. We described the relative contribution of down woody materials to carbon stocks on the island of St. John, compared the contributions across subtropical dry and moist forests of varying structure and composition, and compared down woody materials’ carbon stocks on St. John to those observed in other tropical forests. Our study indicates that down woody materials are important contributors to the total biomass and, therefore, carbon budgets in subtropical systems. Contributions of down woody materials on St. John appear to be comparable to values given for similar dry forest systems.

11 Oswalt, Sonja N.; Oswalt, Christopher M. 2008. Relationships between common forest metrics and realized impacts of Hurricane Katrina on forest resources in Mississippi. Forest Ecology and Management. 255: 1692-1700.

This paper compares and contrasts hurricane-related damage recorded across the Mississippi landscape in the 2 years following Hurricane Katrina, with initial damage assessments based on modeled parameters by the U.S. Forest Service. Logistic and multiple regressions are used to evaluate the influence of stand characteristics on tree damage probability. This paper addresses four primary questions: whether inventory data substantiated damage zone estimates made using remotely sensed and climate data following Hurricane Katrina; whether softwoods or hardwoods were more susceptible to hurricane damage and whether that susceptibility changed as distance from landfall increased; the primary stand-level factors influencing vulnerability to damage; and whether tree-level damage related to tree species, and whether damage types (bole, branch, lean, or windthrow) differed by species. We accepted the hypothesis that damage differed among the developed zones, and confirmed the acceptability of the figures initially generated. However, we were not able to accept the hypothesis that softwoods experienced more damage than hardwoods. Our data showed a marked increase in damage to hardwood species, except in the first zone of impact. Additionally, the likelihood of hardwood damage increased with increasing distance from the zone of impact. However, species group was confounded with the other predictor variables in many cases, making it difficult to separate the effects of each variable.

forest ecosystem restoration and management

12 Haywood, James D. 2007. Influence of herbicides and felling, fertilization, and prescribed fire on longleaf pine establishment and growth through six growing seasons. New Forests. 33: 257-279.

In central Louisiana, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer, multiple prescribed fires, and intensive vegetation control were applied to container-grown longleaf pine plantings in two studies. In study 1 (grass dominated), fertilization resulted in lower longleaf pine survival. Six-year-old longleaf pine trees were taller after intensive vegetation control (3.4 m) than after prescribed burning (1.8 m). In study 2 (brush dominated), survival was unaffected by treatment. The longleaf pine trees were 4.7 m tall after intensive vegetation control and were 3.9 m tall on prescribe burned plots. Native fertility was not limiting to longleaf pine growth in either study.

13 McCarthy, Heather R.; Oren, Ram; Finzi, Adrien C. [and others]. 2007. Temporal dynamics and spatial variability in the enhancement of canopy leaf area under elevated atmospheric CO2. Global Change Biology. 13: 2479-2497. [Editor’s note: Southern Station scientist Kurt H. Johnsen co-authored this publication.]

Leaf area and phenology impact forest productivity, and species variation in these traits impact species dynamics and composition. Although elevated CO2 has been shown to cause increases in forest productivity, there has been little research and no evidence on impacts on leaf area and/or phenology. At the Duke FACE site in Durham, NC, we show that elevated CO2 had no impact on pine needle phenology, although it did delay abscission of hardwood leaves. On average, following canopy closure, elevated CO2 increased pine and hardwood leaf area by 14 and 16 percent, respectively, relative to ambient-grown stands. Across all plots, enhancement only occurred on sites with moderate soil fertility. These results partly explain our past work showing increases in forest growth due to elevated CO2 is dependent on soil nutrition.

14 Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E. 2007. Summer roosting by adult male seminole bats in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. American Midland Naturalist. 158:361-368

Roost sites are an essential habitat component for the survival of bats. The range of the seminole bat (Lasiurus seminolus) is restricted to the Southeastern United States, where it often roosts in the needles of southern pines (Pinus spp.) during summer days. We used radiotransmitters to locate 51 roosts used by 17 male seminole bats during summer in Arkansas. All but two roosts were located in the foliage of large (greater than 21 cm in diameter) pines (Pinus spp.). Compared to random, seminole bats were more likely to roost in forests with abundant large pines, few small pines, few large hardwood trees, and abundant recently cut stumps. Most roosts were located in forests that were partially harvested or thinned recently, but where large pines were retained. Open park-like forests that contain large, mature pines, such as pine woodlands or savannas, appear to be important roosting habitat for male seminole bats during summer on the western edge of their range.

15 Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E.; Carter, S. Andrew. 2007. Sex-specific roost selection by adult red bats in a diverse forested landscape. Forest Ecology and Management. 253: 48-55.

Because of their great abundance and insectivorous diet, eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) likely play important roles in forested ecosystems by consuming forest pests and reducing disease-carrying insects. However, red bat ecology has received little attention until recently, and few studies have compared roost selection between sexes. Using radiotelemetry, we located 142 tree roosts of red bats in forests of Arkansas. Both sexes roosted mostly in the leaves of large deciduous trees, but males occasionally roosted in small trees (under 5 cm in diameter), whereas females did not. Females roosted at greater heights than males, possibly to protect their young from predators. Both sexes preferred to roost in white oaks (Quercus alba) and hickories (Carya spp.) but avoided pines (Pinus spp.). Most roosts for both sexes were in forests dominated by mature (≥50 years old) trees, but many of those stands had recently been partially harvested. Retaining some overstory hardwoods and retaining unharvested buffers along stream drains in harvested forests would benefit both sexes of red bats in managed landscapes during summer.

16 Stanturf, John A.; Goodrick, Scott L.; Outcalt, Kenneth W. 2007. Disturbance and coastal forests: A strategic approach to forest management in hurricane impact zones. Forest Ecology and Management: 250: 119-135.

The Indian Ocean tsunami focused world attention on societal responses to environmental hazards and the potential of natural systems to moderate disturbance effects. Coastal areas are critical to the welfare of up to 50 percent of the world’s population. Coastal systems in the Southern United States are adapted to specific disturbance regimes of tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and fire. In August and September 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused what has been termed the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, including an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion in damage from wind alone. A total of 2.23 million ha of timberland in the coastal States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama was damaged. Although financial loss estimates are incomplete, there is little doubt that these hurricanes caused extensive damage, and their effects on the landscape will linger for years to come. Crafting a strategy for incorporating large, infrequent disturbances into a managed landscape such as the forested coastal plain of the Southern U.S. must balance the desirable with the possible. We advance an adaptive strategy that distinguishes event risk (hurricane occurrence) from vulnerability of coastal forests and outcome risk (hurricane severity). Our strategy focuses on managing the disturbance event, the system after disturbance, and the recovery process, followed by modifying initial conditions to reduce vulnerability. We apply these concepts to a case study of the effects of recent Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on forests of the coastal plain of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

forest values, uses, and policies

17 Call, Jessica; Hayes, Jennifer. 2007. A description and comparison of selected forest carbon registries: a guide for States considering the development of a forest carbon registry. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-107. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 36 p.

There is increasing interest in tools for measuring and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Two tools that have been receiving a lot of attention include carbon markets and carbon registries. Carbon registries are established to record and track net carbon emission levels over time. These registries provide quantifiable and verifiable carbon for trade within a market. This report discusses the benefits and major elements of registries and then describes a selection of existing registries and protocols with forest carbon components. The report focuses on forests because of their carbon storage potential. The purpose of this report is to provide a starting point for any State government or other party considering the development of a carbon registry with a forestry component.

18 Cho, Seong-Hoon; Bowker, J.M.; Park, William M. 2006. Measuring the contribution of water and green space amenities to housing values: an application and comparison of spatially weighted hedonic models. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 31(3): 485-507.

This study estimates the influence of proximity to water bodies and park amenities on residential housing values in Knox County, TN, using the hedonic price approach. Values for proximity to water bodies and parks are first estimated globally with a standard ordinary least squares model. A locally weighted regression model is then employed to investigate spatial nonstationarity and generate local estimates for individual sources of each amenity. Spatial nonstationarity implies that regression coefficients in a model looking at spatial relationships (proximity of park in explaining price of house, etc.) can be different over the range of the model’s data or applicability. The local model reveals some important local differences in the effects of proximity to water bodies and parks on housing price.

19 Cho, Seong-Hoon; Newman, David H.; Wear, David N. 2005. Community choices and housing demands: a spatial analysis of the Southern Appalachian Highlands. Housing Studies. 20(4): 549-569.

This paper examines housing demand using an integrated approach that combines residential decisions about choices of community in the Southern Appalachian region with the application of a Geographic Information System (GIS). The empirical model infers a distinctive heterogeneity in the characteristics of community choices. The results also indicate that socio-economic motives strongly affect urban housing demands, while environmental amenities affect rural housing demands.

20 Cordell, H. Ken; Bowker, J.M. 2007. The global economic contribution of protected natural lands and wilderness through tourism. The Wild Planet Project. Boulder, CO: The WILD Foundation. 28-30.

These are the first-round results aimed at exploring at a global scale the complex relationships between protected natural lands, tourism, and economic growth. For this project we tightly defined concepts of tourism and nature-based tourism relevant to assessing global impacts. We identified and obtained contemporary best data enumerating tourists, travels, and spending. Finally, we pulled key concepts and data together for defining, quantifying, and spatially marking economic activities associated with tourists traveling to visit and see protected natural lands.

21 Mitchell, Dana. 2006. Perspectives on woody biomass fuel value and specifications in Alabama. ASABE Paper No. 068050. St. Joseph, MI: ASABE: 1-7.

Pulp and paper mills in Alabama buy woody biomass, but the specifications required by the mills vary and are not widely known. Some characteristics of woody biomass that are often included in mill specifications include size, species, ash content, and moisture content. These characteristics are briefly reviewed in reference to how they impact the energy value, physical handling, or processing of the material. An informal structured telephone interview was used to obtain the mill specifications and testing procedures used in some of the pulp and paper mills in Alabama. Finally, the relationships between woody biomass characteristics and the mill specifications were summarized.

22 Mitchell, Dana; Gallagher, Tom. 2007. Chipping whole trees for fuel chips: a production study. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 31(4): 176-180.

A time and motion study was conducted to determine the productivity and cost of an in-woods chipping operation when processing whole small-diameter trees for biomass. The study removed biomass from two overstocked stands and compared the cost of this treatment to existing alternatives. The treatment stands consisted of a 30-year-old longleaf pine stand and a 37-year-old loblolly pine stand. In the longleaf pine stand, 71 percent of the trees removed were less than 5 in. dbh. In the loblolly pine stand, approximately 81 percent of the stems removed were less than 5 in. dbh. The harvesting system consisted of conventional ground-based harvesting equipment and a three-knife chipper that processed the biomass into fuel chips. The average production time to fill a chip van was 24.61 minutes. The chip moisture content averaged 94.11 percent (dry basis). Using machine rates and Federal labor wage rates, the in-woods cost of producing fuel chips was $9.18/green ton (gt). The cost of the biomass chipping operation ($15.18/gt), including transportation, compared favorably to existing alternative treatments of cut-and-pile or mulching.

23 Mitchell, Dana; Gallagher, Tom. 2007. Physiological and psychological impacts of extended work hours in logging operations. ASABE Paper No. 075011. St. Joseph, MI: ASABE: 1-5.

A study was initiated in 2006 to develop an understanding of considerations of using extended work hours in the logging industry in the Southeastern United States. Through semistructured interviews, it was obvious that loggers were individually creating ways of successfully implementing extended working hours without understanding potential impacts. Some use rotating shifts, while others use permanent shifts. Some work 24 hours/day while most did not. Many employers said they had problems with employee retention while trying to initially implement extended working hours with existing logging crews. This paper provides a brief synthesis of existing literature on physiological and psychological impacts of extended working hours on employees. Because little documentation is available about extended working hours in the logging industry, these interview data are compared and contrasted with published shift work impacts from other industries.

24 Mitchell, Dana; Rummer, Bob. 2007. Processing woody debris biomass for co-milling with pulverized coal. ASABE Paper No. 078049. St. Joseph, MI: ASABE: 1-5.

This woody biomass utilization project involves removing small diameter stems and unmerchantable woody material from national forest lands and delivering it to a coal-fired power plant in Alabama for energy conversion. The Alabama Power Company will test the utilization of the woody biomass in one of their energy production facilities to determine the feasibility of this new market. The Talladega National Forest and the Gadsden Steam Plant are serving as the demonstration areas for the project. One of the first steps in this project was to select in-woods processing equipment. The biomass fuel to be created in this project must meet unique criteria that differentiate fuel chips created for the power plant from those of typical fuel chips. The wood fuel was to be created from whole-tree chips and co-milled with coal. Biomass specifications were primarily limited by size so that the chips would pass through the current fuel handling system in the plant. In addition, the fuel chips must have edges that are fairly clean and sharp to prevent plugging fuel pathways in the plant. One of the initial steps was to examine output from a variety of in-woods processing equipment to determine which could meet the specifications with one-pass processing. After further review, it was determined that a cutting action, as opposed to a shearing action, was needed to meet the raw material handling requirements within the plant. Output from a specially equipped horizontal grinder was the final equipment choice.

25 Onokpise, Oghenekome U.; Rockwood, Don L.; Worthen, Dreamal H.; Willis, Ted, eds. 2008. Celebrating minority professionals in forestry and natural resources conservation: proceedings of the symposium on the tenth anniversary of the 2 + 2 Joint Degree Program in Forestry and Natural Resources Conservation. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-106. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 111 p.

The 22 papers in this symposium highlight the program and its contribution to increasing minority professionals in forestry and natural resources conservation. The 10th anniversary symposium brought together graduates of the program, current students and officials from universities, the Forest Service, other agencies, and private industry. The theme of the symposium was “Education, Training, and Diverse Workforce.”

threats to forest health

26 Ambrose, Mark J.; Conkling, Barbara L., eds. 2007. Forest Health Monitoring 2005 national technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-104. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 76 p.

The Forest Health Monitoring program’s annual national technical report presents results of forest health analyses from a national perspective using data from a variety of sources. The report is organized according to the Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests of the Santiago Declaration. The results of several analyses of forest fragmentation are synthesized to evaluate fragmentation in U.S. forests. Drought in 2004 is presented, and drought over the decade 1995-2004 is compared with the historical average. Areas of intense forest fire activity during the 2004 fire season are identified. Ozone bioindicator data are used to create an interpolated ozone map of the United States, and the possible impact on sensitive tree species is examined. Aerial survey data are used to identify hotspots of insect and disease activity based on the relative exposure to defoliation- and mortality-causing agents. Data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis down woody materials indicator are analyzed to produce preliminary per-acre estimates of amounts of woody debris and carbon pools stored in down woody materials. Data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis soil quality indicator are analyzed to provide preliminary information about erosion and soil compaction, soil pH, and effective cation exchange capacity, and to produce preliminary per-hectare estimates of soil carbon.

27 Ambrose, Mark J.; Conkling, Barbara L.; Riitters, Kurt H.; Coulston, John W. 2008. The Forest Health Monitoring national technical reports: examples of analyses and results from 2001-2004. [Brochure]. Science Update SRS-18. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. [Not paged].

This brochure presents examples of analyses included in the first four Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) national technical reports. Its purpose is to introduce the reader to the kinds of information available in these and subsequent FHM national technical reports. Indicators presented here include drought, air pollution, forest fragmentation, and tree mortality. These and other indicators were generally analyzed by broad ecological regions characterized by similar climate, vegetation, geology, and soils. Sources are provided for additional information about these analyses, as well as the FHM Program in general.

28 Boggs, Johnny L.; McNulty, Steven G.; Pardo, Linda H. 2007. Changes in conifer and deciduous forest foliar and forest floor chemistry and basal area tree growth across a nitrogen (N) deposition gradient in the Northeastern U.S. Environmental Pollution. 149: 303-314.

There was much concern about the impacts of acid rain on New England forests during the 1980s. Acid rain is composed of automobile and industrial emissions of nitrogen and sulfur, and the amount of acid rain increases from east to west across the region. In 1987, SRS research ecologist Steve McNulty lead a research project to sample soil and needle processes and chemistry across 161 high elevation (mainly) spruce sites from Maine to New York. The study concluded that acid rain was negatively impacting for health in the western (i.e., highest acid rain) end of the region. In the early 1990s, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air Act that removed much of the sulfur but did little to reduce the nitrogen loading to the forests. In the early 2000s, a subset of the plots from the 1987 sampling was re-sampled to examine how continued nitrogen inputs had changed forest health. The study found that while some of the areas have begun to recover, other areas continue to deteriorate due to continued nitrogen additions. Additional studies are now underway to examine how low nitrogen inputs must be to allow for forest recovery.

29 Coulston, John W.; Ambrose, Mark J.; Riitters, K.H.; Conkling, Barbara L. 2005. Forest Health Monitoring 2004 national technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-90. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 81 p.

The Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program’s annual national technical report presents results of forest health analyses from a national perspective using data from a variety of sources. Results presented in the report pertain to the Santiago Declaration’s Criterion 1— Conservation of Biological Diversity and Criterion 3—Maintenance of Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality. We include status and trend information where possible, consistent with previous FHM national technical reports. Additional analytical techniques and results, new to the national report, are presented as examples of ways forest health data can be used. This report has eight sections. The first contains introductory material. The next four contain results from analyses of status and change for selected forest health indicators, e.g., several measures of forest fragmentation, mortality and defoliation-causing insects and diseases, crown condition, and tree mortality, similar to analyses in previous FHM national reports. The next two sections describe analytical techniques and provide information about assessments presented in the national report for the first time, and the final section is a summary.

30 Ebermann, Ernst; Moser, John C. 2008. Mites (Acari: Scutacaridae) associated with the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), from Louisiana and Tennessee, USA. International Journal of Acarology. 34(1): 55-69.

Four species of Scutacarus and one of Imparipes (Acari: Scutacaridae) are documented as phoretic from alates and workers of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) in Louisiana and Tennessee, USA. Imparipes (Imparipes) louisianae n. sp., Scutacarus nanus n. sp., and Scutacarus tertius n. sp. are described. The biology and phoretic behaviors of all five species are discussed from those collected from the vicinity of Pineville, LA.

31 Fraedrich, S.W.; Harrington, T.C.; Rabaglia, R.J. [and others]. 2008. A fungal symbiont of the redbay ambrosia beetle causes a lethal wilt in redbay and other Lauraceae in the Southeastern USA. Plant Disease. 92:215-224. [Editor’s note: Southern Research Station scientists M.D. Ulyshen, J.L. Hanula, and D.R. Miller co-authored this publication.]

Extensive mortality of redbay, a tree in the laurel family commonly found in the Coastal Plain forests of the Southeastern United States, has been observed in Georgia and South Carolina since 2003, and Florida since 2005. Mortality is due to vascular wilt caused by a previously unknown fungus related to the Dutch elm disease pathogen. The new fungus is associated with the redbay ambrosia beetle, an exotic insect native to Southeast Asia. Trees affected by the disease often exhibit a rapid wilting of foliage and a dark, black discoloration of sapwood. The fungus is apparently introduced during attacks on stems and branches. This is the first ambrosia beetle symbiont known to cause vascular wilt. Frequent introductions of ambrosia beetles on solid wood packing materials suggests similar pathogens may appear on our shores. Because this disease affects redbay and sassafras as well as other members of the Lauraceae, we propose the common name “laurel wilt.” The disease threatens members of the Lauraceae indigenous to the Americas, including avocado in commercial production

32 Koch, F.H.; Cheshire, H.M.; Devine, H.A. 2006. Landscape-scale prediction of hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae (Homoptera: Adelgidae), infestation in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Environmental Entomology. 35(5): 1313-1323. [Editor’s note: This research was funded by the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring Program.]

The spread of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) had been described in broad terms, but factors predicting where it would first invade a landscape had not been analyzed previously. We examined first-year infestation locations in the Great Smoky Mountains region to identify possible factors. We derived statistical classification functions distinguishing infested from uninfested sites based on environmental variables, and used the functions to generate risk maps. Our results suggest roads, trails, and riparian corridors provide important connectivity, enabling long-distance dispersal of HWA, probably by humans or birds. The derived functions can also be used to make risk maps for elsewhere in the Southern Appalachians, allowing better targeting of control efforts.

33 McNulty, Steven G.; Cohen, Erika C.; Moore Myers, Jennifer A. [and others]. 2007. Estimates of critical acid loads and exceedances for forest soils across the conterminous United States. Environmental Pollution. 149: 281-292. [Editor’s note: SRS scientist Harbin Li co-authored this paper.]

For several decades Europe (and most recently Canada) has used the notion of “critical acid load” to measure the state of health of their forests. Acids such as nitrogen and sulfur can negatively impact forest health, and a critical acid load is a measure of a forest’s ability to absorb acid without showing negative impacts. If acid loads exceed the forest’s ability to absorb acid, then tree mortality may increase. Steve McNulty, SRS research ecologist, led a study to estimate critical acid loads for all forests in the lower 48 United States at a 1 km2 resolution. Most of the exceedance of the critical acid load occurred in high elevation Northeastern States, but some also occurred in eastern North Carolina. Findings from this study will help forest managers to locate areas of potential exceedance of critical acid loading so that additional study, and, if necessary, corrective management plans can be established.

34 Paoletti, Elena; Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Andersen, Chris [and others]. 2007. Impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems—emerging research needs. The Scientific World Journal. 7(S1): 1-8. [Editor’s note: Southern Station scientist Steven McNulty co-authored this publication.]

This paper summarizes outcomes from the 2006 meeting “Forests under Anthropogenic Pressure—Effects of Air Pollution, Climate Change, and Urban Development.” Tropospheric or ground-level ozone (O3) is still the phytotoxic air pollutant of major interest. Challenging issues include how to make O3 standards or critical levels more biologically based and at the same time practical for wide use; quantification of plant detoxification processes in flux modeling; inclusion of multiple environmental stresses in critical load determinations; new concept development for nitrogen saturation; interactions between air pollution, climate, and forest pests; effects of forest fire on air quality; the capacity of forests to sequester carbon under changing climatic conditions and coexposure to elevated levels of air pollutants; and enhanced linkage between molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and morphological traits.

35 Pardo, Linda H.; McNulty, Steven G.; Boggs, Johnny L.; Duke, Sara. 2007. Regional patterns in foliar 15N across a gradient of nitrogen deposition in the Northeastern U.S. Environmental Pollution. 149: 293-302.

In the 1980s acid rain was partially responsible for the death of high elevation spruce forests across New England. Research studies determined that sulfur and nitrogen were the primary contributors to the damage. In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which reduced the amount of acidic precipitation by over 70 percent. Linda Pardo, Northeastern Research Station research ecologist, led a study to examine how the forest has responded to changes in acid rain levels using nitrogen isotopes (δ15) in the leaves of spruce needles. The team compared samples collected in the late 1980s by SRS research ecologist Steve McNulty with those collected from the same sites in the late 1990s by SRS research biologist Johnny Boggs. The study concluded that spruce needle δ15 N was strongly correlated with N deposition, and was also positively correlated with net nitrification potential (i.e., an indicator of forest health). This research suggests that very complex ecosystem processes and conditions of forest health can be simplified using measurements of foliar chemistry. This technique may be useful for rapidly assessing forest health in the future.

36 Riitters, Kurt; Estreguil, Christine, eds. 2007. International research to monitor sustainable forest spatial patterns: proceedings of the 2005 IUFRO World Congress symposium. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. 106. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. [Date accessed: April 21, 2008].

Presentations from the symposium “International Research to Monitor Sustainable Forest Spatial Patterns,” which was organized as part of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress in August 2005, are summarized in this report. The overall theme of the World Congress was “Forests in the Balance: Linking Tradition and Technology,” and the symposium addressed the Congress sub-theme “Demonstrating Sustainable Forest Management.”

37 Shelton, Thomas G.; Cartier, Laurent; Wagner, Terence L.; Becker, Christian. 2007. Influence of a mineral insecticide particle size on bait efficacy against Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Sociobiology. 50(2): 521-533.

Termite baits attempt to control large numbers of termites by providing food containing trace amounts of toxicants that eventually kill the insects. Toxicants typically are liquid synthetic compounds. In cooperation with industry, U.S. Forest Service personnel examined the use of a natural insecticide—a mineral called cryolite—mixed with cellulose as termite bait. Cryolite is sold commercially as Kryocide® (by Cerexagri, Inc.) for controlling moths and beetles in vegetable crops. Active concentrations and sizes of cryolite crystals were determined in the laboratory. This is an important first step in identifying a potential new bait active ingredient for controlling termites.

watershed science

38 Adams, Susan B. 2007. Freshwater sculpins: phylogenetics to ecology. Transactions of American Fisheries Society. 136: 1736-1741.

Freshwater sculpins are small fishes that live in cool- and coldwater habitats. More than 60 sculpin species occur. Sculpins frequently constitute the largest component of stream fish communities and serve diverse ecosystem functions. Although sculpins are often ignored, many management and conservation goals may be better met by focusing on sculpins than on sport fishes. We review recent literature on freshwater sculpins and introduce a module of papers reporting sculpin research from diverse perspectives. The objectives are to (1) highlight the various scales at which sculpin research is informative, (2) stimulate interest in sculpin research and conservation, and (3) illustrate some conservation needs and management uses of sculpins that are unique from those of sport fishes.

39 Adams, Susan B.; Hamel, Paul B.; Connor, Kristina [and others]. 2007. Potential roles of fish, birds, and water in swamp privet (Forestiera acuminata) seed dispersal. Southeastern Naturalist. 6(4): 669-682. [Editor’s note: Southern Station scientist Emile S. Gardiner co-authored this publication.]

Suspecting diverse seed dispersal avenues for swamp privet (Forestiera acuminata), a common wetland plant in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, we launched an interdisciplinary study of its seed ecology. We identified channel catfish as seed dispersers and cedar waxwings as probable dispersers. Several other bird species consumed, but probably destroyed, the fruits. We inferred that passive seed dispersal by water also occurs. The linkage we identified between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems presumably benefits both plants and fish. Diverse seed dispersal avenues presumably allows for effective dispersal under a wide range of hydrologic conditions.

40 Amatya, Devendra; Trettin, Carl. 2008. An eco-hydrological project on Turkey Creek watershed, South Carolina, USA. In: Meire, P.; Coenen, M.; Lombardo, C. [and others], eds. Integrated water management: practical experiences and case studies. NATO science series IV. The Netherlands: Springer: 80: 115-126.

The low-gradient, forested wetland landscape of the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain represents an important ecosystem, yet there is little information available on the region’s eco-hydrological and biogeochemical processes. Long-term hydrologic monitoring can not only provide information for understanding basic processes and interactions with climate, land use change, and other disturbances, but also baseline data for evaluating responses and testing eco-hydrologic models. This information is crucial for sustainable management of water resources in the region, with its growing population, rapid development, and timber and agricultural industries. This paper presents a multi-collaborative approach for building a monitoring and modeling framework for conducting long-term eco-hydrological studies on a 5,000 ha watershed in the S.C. Coastal Plain.

41 Bragg, Don C. 2008. An improved tree height measurement technique tested on mature southern pines. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 32(1): 38-43.

Most methods to measure tree height follow either the geometric approach of similar triangles or the trigonometry-based tangent method. However, few adjust either technique for ground slope, tree lean, crown shape, and crown configuration, making errors commonplace. Given known discrepancies exceeding 30 percent, a reevaluation of height measurement is in order. The sine method is a trigonometric alternative that measures a real point in the crown and thus is not subject to the same assumptions as the similar triangle and tangent approaches. In addition, the sine method is insensitive to distance from tree or observer position and cannot overestimate tree height, advantages demonstrated with mature pines from Arkansas.

42 Bragg, Don C.; Shelton, Michael G.; Guldin, James M. 2008. Restoring old-growth southern pine ecosystems: strategic lessons from long-term silvicultural research. In: Deal, R.L., tech. ed. Integrated restoration of forested ecosystems to achieve multiresource benefits: proceedings of the 2007 national silviculture workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-733. Portland, OR: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 211-224.

The successful restoration of old-growth-like loblolly and shortleaf pine-dominated forests requires the integration of ecological information with long-term silvicultural research. Conventional management practices such as timber harvesting or competition control have supplied us with the tools for restoration efforts. For example, the Good and Poor Farm Forestry Forties on the Crossett Experimental Forest (CEF) have been under uneven-aged silvicultural prescriptions for 70 years and have provided insights on pine regeneration, structural and compositional stability, endangered species management, and sustainability. Other studies on the CEFs Reynolds Research Natural Area have provided lessons on the long-term impacts of fire suppression, woody debris and duff accumulation, hardwood competition, and pine regeneration failures.

43 Dosskey, M.G.; Hoagland, K.D.; Brandle, J.R. 2007. Change in filter strip performance over ten years. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 62(1): 21-32.

Perennial vegetation is often established between agricultural fields and streams to filter sediment and fertilizer out of runoff water before they enter streams. The performance of forested and grassed filter strips were tracked for 10 years following planting on bare ground in order to see what kind of vegetation works best and how long it takes for the filter strips to become fully functional. Results show that grass and forest vegetation (grass, shrubs, and trees) work equally well and that it takes about three growing seasons before these filters work their best, depending on how quickly a dense groundcover layer develops.

44 Ford, Chelcy R.; Hubbard, Robert M.; Kloeppel, Brian D.; Vose, James M. 2007. A comparison of sap flux-based evapotranspiration estimates with catchment-scale water balance. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 145: 176-185.

Studies evaluating comparability of sap flux-based estimates of transpiration with alternative methods for estimating transpiration at the landscape scale are rare. Determining and accounting for sources of variation are critical for making landscape inferences about transpiration. We monitored sap flux in 40 trees in a 50-year-old eastern white pine plantation for two years. We scaled estimates of transpiration and interception to the catchment and compared these with water balance estimates. For both years, the two independent estimates were similar, differing by an average of 10 percent. Results indicate that sap flux-based estimates of transpiration may also be useful in mixed-species stands and could provide a tool to evaluate impacts of species losses on catchment water balance.

45 Haag, Wendell R.; Commens-Carson, Amy M. 2008. Testing the assumption of annual shell ring deposition in freshwater mussels. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science. 65: 493-508.

We tested the assumption of annual shell ring deposition by freshwater mussels in three rivers using 17 species. In 2000, we notched shell margins, returned animals to the water, and retrieved them in 2001. In 2003, we measured shells, affixed numbered tags, returned animals, and retrieved them in 2004 and 2005. We validated deposition of a single internal annulus per year in all species and in 94 percent of specimens. Most unvalidated shells were old individuals with tightly crowded rings. Handling produced a conspicuous disturbance ring in all specimens and often resulted in shell damage. Observed growth was similar to but slightly lower than growth predicted by von Bertalanffy length-at-age models developed independently from shell annuli; further, handling specimens in 2 consecutive years reduced growth more than handling only once. These results show that mussels are extremely sensitive to handling. Brief handling does not likely increase short-term mortality, but repeated handling could decrease long-term fitness. Handling effects should be considered in sampling programs or when interpreting results of mark-recapture studies designed to estimate mussel growth. Production of annual shell rings is a pervasive phenomenon across species, space, and time, and validated shell rings can provide accurate estimates of age and growth.

46 Hamel, Paul B. 2007. Handbook of avian hybrids of the world; Eugene M. McCarthy. [Book review]. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 47(5): 786-787.

The study of hybridization in nature is a difficult task, principally because of the very low probability of finding an animal that represents the offspring of the mating of a male of one species with a female of another species. Certain situations are well-known, some in North America, such as the hybridization between the two subspecies of the yellow-rumped warbler. In the Southern States we have the “myrtle warbler” subspecies in abundance in the winter, while in the Southwest the “Audubon’s warbler” subspecies spends the winter. Where the two subspecies’ ranges meet in the northern Rocky Mountains, hybrids between the two are common. Most hybrid situations are not well-known, however. Thus, a debt of thanks is due to author Eugene McCarthy for the tremendous effort put into the Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World. He painstakingly compiled and evaluated more than 5000 references documenting hybridization among bird species for this book. It provides a resource for all those interested in bird species, in differences between bird species, and in evolutionary pressures on bird species, not to mention in birdwatching, to add new species to their personal list. Most cases are nowhere near as well-understood as that involving the yellow-rumped warbler.

47 Harder, Scott V.; Amatya, Devendra M.; Callahan, Timothy J. [and others]. 2007. Hydrology and water budget for a forested Atlantic Coastal Plain watershed, South Carolina. Journal of American Water Resources Association. 43(3): 563-575. [Editor’s note: Southern Station scientist Carl C. Trettin co-authored this publication.]

Increases in timber demand and urban development in the Atlantic Coastal Plain over the past decade have motivated studies on eco-hydrology and sustainable management of coastal plain watersheds. The purpose of this study was to quantify the water budget of a first-order forested watershed located within the Forest Service Santee Experimental Forest near Charleston, SC. Annual rainfall of 1671 mm in 2003 and 962 mm in 2004 was 300 mm above and 400 mm below normal with runoff coefficients of 0.47 and 0.08, respectively, indicating a wide variability of outflows as affected by antecedent soil conditions. Estimated evapotranspiration (~920 mm) in both years was a major component of water loss. These results may have implications as reference data for forest management practices on the Atlantic Coastal Plain watersheds.

48 Li, Harbin; McNulty, Steven G. 2007. Uncertainty analysis on simple mass balance model to calculate critical loads for soil acidity. Environmental Pollution. 149: 315-326.

Simple mass balance equations (SMBE) of critical acid loads (CAL) in forest soil were developed to assess potential risks of air pollutants to ecosystems. However, to apply SMBE reliably at large scales, SMBE must be tested for adequacy and uncertainty. Our goal was to provide a detailed analysis of uncertainty in SMBE so that sound strategies for scaling up CAL estimates to the national scale could be developed. Specifically, we wanted to quantify CAL uncertainty under natural variability in 17 model parameters, and determine their relative contributions in predicting CAL. Improvements in estimates of these factors are crucial to reducing uncertainty and successfully scaling up SMBE for national assessments of CAL.

49 Skojac, Daniel A., Jr.; Ezell, Andrew W.; Meadows, James S.; Hodges, John D. 2007. First-year growth and quality response of residual hardwood poletimber trees following thinning in an even-aged sawtimber stand. Res. Note SE-13. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 6 p.

First-year diameter growth and epicormic branching responses of hardwood poletimber trees retained following thinning in a sawtimber stand are reported. Poletimber trees were classified as either superior or inferior poletimber, and then retained on separate plots receiving identical thinning treatments. Comparison of responses by the two classes of poletimber was used to evaluate their future potential for grade sawtimber in the thinned sawtimber stand. Thinning treatments included an unthinned control, two levels of the desirable treatment (retained preferred and desirable sawtimber and either superior or inferior poletimber), and two levels of the acceptable treatment (retained preferred, desirable, and acceptable sawtimber and either superior or inferior poletimber). Preliminary results indicated that future sawtimber production from residual superior poletimber trees may be a realistic option but appears less likely from their inferior poletimber counterparts. The desirable treatment yielded significant first-year diameter growth of superior poletimber trees (0.20 inches), but also stimulated greater production of new epicormic branches on the potentially more valuable superior poletimber trees. The acceptable treatment minimized the production of epicormic branches on superior poletimber.

50 Williams, T.M.; Amatya, D.M.; Hitchcock, D.R. [and others]. 2007. Chapel Branch Creek TMDL development: integrating TMDL development with implementation. ASABE Paper No. 072042. St. Joseph, MI: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers: 1-13.

Chapel Branch Creek, which drains a 1600-ha area into Lake Marion, is listed as an impaired water for excess nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), chlorophyll-a, and pH. Lake Marion is an important recreational area generating economic benefits for both the adjacent Town of Santee and coastal South Carolina. The watershed has land uses with varying potential nonpoint sources of N and P. A project supported by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control is underway to develop and implement a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the above pollutants. The major challenge to implementation is developing stakeholder buy-in for load reductions. Successful implementation requires both scientifically valid determination of source loadings and clear demonstration of results to stakeholders. GIS-based watershed characteristics and water quality sampled from various land uses are being used to identify potential source areas. These and on-site measured flow and weather data are being used in a hydrology/water quality model for calculating load allocations and reductions needed to develop a TMDL and BMPs. This information will be used to educate stakeholders about model validity. Early involvement of stakeholders in study design has facilitated development of a strong cooperative attitude.


Back to the top

Cerulean warbler
Sea levels along the South Carolina coast have already begun to rise as a result of warming temperatures. (Photo by Zoë Hoyle, U.S. Forest Service)