Forest health monitoring: 2008 national technical report
The Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program’s annual national technical report has three objectives: (1) to present forest health status and trends from a national or a multi-State regional perspective using a variety of sources, (2) to introduce new techniques for analyzing forest health data, and (3) to report results of recently completed evaluation monitoring projects funded through the FHM national program. The first section of the report, which addresses the first two objectives, is organized according to the Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests. A new phylogenetic approach is described for assessing the health of forest communities from an evolutionary perspective. Also depicted are new tools that allow the public to retrieve high-resolution maps of land cover patterns for specific locations. A methodology is described for the comparison of moisture conditions between different geographical areas and time periods. Aerial survey data are used to identify hotspots of insect and disease activity based on the relative exposure to defoliation- and mortalitycausing agents. Satellite data are employed to detect geographic clusters of forest fire occurrence. Forest Inventory and Analysis data from 17 States are employed to detect regional differences in tree mortality. Phytopthora kernoviae is described as a developing threat to forest health, and a national map of P. kernoviae establishment risk is presented. Soil quality indicator data are analyzed to determine regional trends in soil chemistry characteristics that play an important role in the growth of forest trees. Finally, annual change in woody carbon stocks is presented in an initial assessment of down woody material carbon flux in the North Central United States. In the second section of the report, seven recently completed evaluation monitoring projects are summarized, addressing a variety of forest health concerns at smaller scales. These projects include an evaluation of exotic plant invasion vulnerability in Pennsylvania, a description of black ash decline in Minnesota, an assessment of white pine blister rust in Washington State, an evaluation of alder dieback impact on ecosystem nitrogen balance in Alaska, an assessment of the impact of Swiss needle cast on Douglas-fir in Oregon, an examination of the effect of Minnesota winter temperatures on eastern larch beetle, and an evaluation of native bunchgrass communities in Oregon and Idaho following fire.
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