Notes from Assessment Team MeetingJuly 18-20, 2000
Union Station Hotel
Tuesday July 18, 2000
I. Updates by Question Managers
Question Managers gave reports on their progress to date. The following supplements the reports with a record of the issues and questions raised during discussion of these reports.
TERRA-2: Wayne Owen
What are the history, status and projected future of native plant communities in the South?
- Links to ecological regions—we can do this for current data but not to historical
- Use of other databases—will be using Natural Heritage data. Will also be working extensively with the Nature Conservancy.
- How do we link analysis of plant communities to forecasts?
- What is the spatial scale? Response: will not be governed by a single community issue; multiple scales will be utilized.
- How will endangered species be dealt with? Question will be organized by plant communities, so the rare and endangered species will be a relatively minor component of the analysis. (But since Wayne coordinates this for the region, he will be able to weave endangerment into his analysis.)
SOCIO-3: Jim Granskog
How do current policies, regulations, and laws affect forest resources and their management?
- Cost Share Programs—does it support conversion to pine plantations exclusively? Suggests quantifying this.
- Should this question also address the Fed Clean Water Act—silvicultural exemption?
- Will other programs addressing water quality be included here?
- Will the analysis separate state from local? Response: not much of anything at state level in the South.
- Is it possible to break down “right to practice” and other ordinances to substate level. —local ordinances by county.
TIMBR-3: Bob Rummer
- How might existing and new technologies influence forest operations and resultant conditions of forests?
- Will we look at potential future technologies?
- Off-site technologies (e.g., new processing technologies)-- where will this be addressed? Timber 1 will address questions regarding aggregate changes in timber harvesting.
- We will need to clarify how soils will be addressed within the Assessment. This needs to be coordinated with HLTH-3.
TIMBR-1: Jeff Prestemon
What are the history, status and projected future demands for and supplies of wood products in the South?
- National Forest harvest data—where will this be addressed?
- Especially for the South but also other regions
- Possible to reference the SAA and OOHA
- Status of hardwood timber growth and removals?
- Important to break out harvesting on industry vs. nonindustrial lands
- Spatial linkages between regions should be addressed.
- Shift in timber harvesting from PNW to South?
- Address this in the introduction to the Assessment.
- How will demand projections from RPA be addressed? They will be incorporated, via SRTS-RPA linkages.
- Projections—what is the time frame of projections?
- What are the spatial resolutions of projections?
- Scaling issues are important.
HLTH-1: Andy Hartsell and Roger Conner
What are the history, status, and projected future of southern forests?
- Water quality questions—focus on most recent surveys
- Coordination across several questions required to make most effective use of FIA’s resources.
Will need to cross walk to the RPA data base as a point of cross reference—but will work with the original data.
- Look at Iverson’s projection models for tree distribution etc…. from Global Change Program-- this will link to HLTH-3.
- What is the cut-off date for data? Will Alabama data be available for our efforts? Answer: Tennessee data will be available but not Alabama.
AQUA-4: Bruce Prud'homme
What are the implementation rates and effectiveness of BMP's in the South?
- Will need to be links to Socio-7 (quality of life issues)—water quality benefits.
- Concern was raised regarding the structure of the inspections and therefore the quality of monitoring (not clear on response). Raises concern regarding comparability across the states.
- Huge differences in the structure of the monitoring and the reporting of the results between states.
- What is the structure of penalties related to water pollution regardless of the structure of BMP’s.
- How will we address the complement of laws that do not directly target forestry but have an influence on forestry or for which forestry permits is exempt—in particular water quality.
TERRA-1: Margaret Griep
What are the history, status and projected future of terrestrial wildlife habitat types and species in the South?
- History—using a lot of historical survey data back to 40’s for trends (also 30’s data).
- Having difficulty finding National Park Service coverage.
- Fragmentation—related issues. Need to clarify role of Kurt Riitters fragmentation analysis in the analysis.
- Fragmentation is an issue that links across questions. We should coordinate our approach to fragmentation
TERRA-5: Margaret Griep
What conditions will be needed to maintain plant and animal species associations in the South?
- Herps are especially difficult to analyze, especially at this scale. How will they be addressed?
- How will linkages between timber harvesting and wildlife habitats be addressed—especially for forecasting?
SOCIO-4: David Hoge
What motivates private forest landowners to manage their forestland and how are their management objectives formed?
- Will analysis focus on landowner surveys only? We could also look at direct evidence of management.
- Policy incentives-- what incentive programs have been available and what are the effects? This defines links to Socio-3.
- Look at studies that relate management decisions to proximity to urban etc…
- Links to Loftis’ question to get at revealed management intent.
HLTH-3: Jennifer Moore
How have abiotic factors including environmental stressors such as air pollution influenced the overall health of the South's forests and what are future effects likely to be?
- Following are important unresolved issues:
- Citation format
- Map projection format
- Future prediction date, past historical dates
- Linkage between TMBR-3 to address soil impacts. Soil compaction will be handled by TMBR-3. Effects handled by HLTH-3.
- There are important links between the abiotic stressors and the insect and disease outbreaks (HLTH-2).
AQUA-5: Jim Herrig
What are the history, status, and likely future of aquatic habitats and species in the South?
- What is the resolution of the watersheds defined here (source of map)?
- Will the impacts of land use on water/species be addressed here?
- We will need to address scale, resolution, and template.
- Source of Natural Heritage database? Response: “BCD” page.
- Source of the snail extinction data?
- Concern that focus should be exclusively on forest management activities rather than on land use changes.
- Links identified between AQUA-3 and AQUA-5.
- Concerned about focus on free-flowing streams. Jim will also address the loss of wetland habitats.
- What are the effects of land use changes on ephemeral wetlands and the wildlife impacts?
- Will need to impose a western boundary on the maps on the web site.
SOCIO-2: Ken Cordell (for Michael Tarrant)
What are the attitudes and values of southern residents toward forests and their management and how have they changed over time and do they differ by demographic groups?
SOCIO-6: Ken Cordell
What are the supplies of and demands for forest based recreation and other noncommodity uses of forests in the South?
- Recreation participation data—SOCIO-5 could these as well.
- Some of the data could be also useful for SOCIO-7. Specifically, those data linking demographics to opinions.
- Availability of data? Most all (except the 2000 survey) are currently available.
HLTH-2: Denny Ward
How have biological agents including insects and disease influenced the overall health of the South's forests and how will they likely affect it in the future?
- Connections to TERRA-1 and TERRA-5 regarding Chestnut Blight etc…
- Note that this question uses a different organization at forest types. Need to check for consistency across questions.
- Links to TERRA-2 with regard to the invasive species.
- Observation that insects and diseases affecting tree species of forests has emphasis. Wayne will address the implications for non-woody species. Are there implications that we aren’t capturing between the two questions?
- Will we address linkages between insect and diseases and the abiotic factors (e.g., air pollution, drought…)?
- Will there be a breakdown by ownership groups and by tract size?
- Will we have an integrated evaluation of fire in the Assessment?
AQUA-1: Ben West
How have forest management activities and other forest uses influenced water quality, aquatic habitat, and designated uses in forested watersheds?
AQUA-3: Stephanie Fulton
What are the history, status, and likely future of water quality in southern forested watersheds?
- Identification of forested watersheds—is there a standard approach here?
- Variability of the data quality across states. Will not be solved but will be identified and discussed within the Assessment document.
- 305b reports- will be used to identify those stream reaches influenced by forest management.
- What is the role of illustrative case studies versus bona fide small area assessments.
- Arkansas study of impacts of timber management on water quality at a small watershed level.
- How do we link the changes in the land use profile of a watershed to water quality changes?
- 303d lists and putting forestry in the context of other uses. Will there be a discussion of the data limitations?
- Can forestry impacts actually be identified using these data at these scales?
- Is there a departure from the original question—i.e. moving from various land uses to forests only? But cannot do an exhaustive study on impacts of all types of land uses.
- Suggests using a strategy to stratify with the FIA data.
- Suggests overlaying mill location and harvest intensity as another way to flag or screen watershed data.
SOCIO-5: Karen Abt
What role do forests play in employment and local economies in the South?
- Spending a lot of effort in defining the subregional areas.
- Suggest using the states as level for IMPLAN area. BEA regions may be too fine for the limited resources?
- Can we develop characteristic BEA’s as case studies within the South? Use rural-urban, forest type.
- Do a south-wide analysis to give us a comparison with results from the South’s Fourth Forest?
- Validity of the analysis of small economic areas? Ala FIA data limitations.
- Need a complete update on the analysis of the question.
- Environmental Justice aspects are important.
- Important linkages between SOCIO-2, 5, and 7 re: above and other issues.
- Natural Resource Accounting—contribution of forests to total social welfare. Not clear how this will be addressed yet.
SOCIO-7: Tom Holmes
How do forests and their uses influence the quality of life in the South?
- Look at rural-urban but also the extent of forest cover.
- Potential for using areas defined for Karen’s analysis to do empirical analysis here.
- Are there rural quality of life studies done in the South?
- Non-market valuations need to be compared with Consumer Surplus measures of forest values.
- Account for preferences of researchers on the non-market estimates.
- Need to account for variation in the fundamental perceptions regarding the valuation of forests and their derived benefits.
- Have we lost track of this issue from the February meeting?
- We need to make sure that the full range of economic conditions are represented when the analysis is done.
- Are we getting into an OMB issue with regard to the study
- Keep track of importance of community in the question.
SOCIO-1: David Wear
How have land uses changed in the South and how might changes in the future affect the area of forests?
- Is there a problem with using both NRI and USFS data on forest extent?
- Should we use NRI data to screen watersheds for the aqua questions?
Wednesday July 19, 2000
II. Discussion of Criteria and Indicators and Developing Measures of the Indicators in Cooperation with the Southern Assessment – Dave Radloff
Synopsis: David Radloff (USFS, Washington Office) presented an overview of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forestry as developed through the Montreal Process. This is an international agreement on the measurement of sustainability. Final measures for the United States are currently being developed. The Assessment provides an opportunity to test these indicators at a regional scale. The Assessment Team and public discussed the possibility of using data being collected for the Assessment to develop these indicators for the South.
Issues/Questions raised during the discussion:
- Focus needs to stay on the questions. The organization of the RPA report by C and I left a lot of the information out and also compromised the delivery of the overall message.
- Concern regarding the ability to address the issues with data required by C & I.
- Can be used to develop an adequate understanding.
- Concerned regarding the quality of data when addressing certain issues.
- Time limits of the question managers.
- Format—separate report, or integrated in another way.
- Can we use the Assessment to provide a critical evaluation of the C&I. Would the C&I process yield meaningful insights into the questions. Could they characterize change in the South in a meaningful fashion?
- Dave notes that these are very different structures with different objectives.
- Derivative report—similar to Columbia River Basin report.
- Important to identify the data limitations.
- QM’s could be tagged.
- We need to focus on our task at hand. Let someone else work on it. Should enlist another person to do the legwork.
- This is a critical point of comparison for our document. We will be compared to this standard. The Assessment team needs to do this.
- There is additional work required beyond the compilation of the data. The interpretation of the data requires input from the questions.
- Phase I and II. Phase I while the Assessment is being conducted. Consultation of the QM’s regarding compilation of the data. Interpretation of the Indicators post Assessment analysis.
- Concern that there would be incomplete reporting. We could supplement this with additional data.
- Emphasis on what we don’t know is important.
- Keep on task with the Assessment process
- Find another person to consult with the QM’s to produce a document separate from and after the assessment is documented.
- Involve that person now.
- C and I’s should not be explicitly addressed within the Assessment.
III. Discussion of Data Needs and Data Strategy – David Wear
Objective: To develop a general, coordinated strategy for the compilation, storage and use of data for the Assessment. Data compilation will proceed through the following steps: 1) enumeration of data needs, 2) coordination of data requests, 3) compilation of core FIA data set, 4) compilation of other data.
- Enumeration of Data Needs: Based on work plans submitted by Question Managers, we have compiled a list of data needs for each question (see the attached spreadsheet). This data dictionary will be used to design and coordinate data compilation and subsequent data storage and documentation. All variables used in the Assessment need to be listed in the data dictionary, even if the Question Manager will be compiling them. The data dictionary will be completed by the end of July.
- Coordination of data requests: The Data Dictionary will be used to coordinate requests for data from various sources. This is especially important for FIA data.
- Compilation of the Core FIA Data Set: Using the Data Dictionary, we will define a set of variables that will be compiled in an initial query of FIA databases. These will be variables that do not require custom programming and can be stored at the county level of resolution. These data will be the highest priority for data compilation.
- Compilation of Other Data: The data dictionary will be used to develop a schedule for subsequent data compilations.
- Additional Data Issues
- Data resolution: Much of the data used for the analysis will be compiled at the county level. Whenever data are compiled by county, they need to be identified by standard FIPS code. However, some data will be stored as vector and raster coverages in a GIS, and some data will be stored as points.
- Display resolution: While county level data will be stored, much of the data will only be displayed for aggregated areas. A strategy for mapping county level data will be developed.
- Spatial frames: The primary frame for organizing data will be the ecological Province and Section. However, some questions will demand alternate frames, for example, watersheds, and economic areas.
- GIS: Storage and meta data standards will be developed.
Issues/Questions raised during discussion:
- Think about what resolution county data should be stored at.
- Need to flesh out the needs and strategy for developing the metadata standards (Jen, Vic, Ed, Stephanie and John Pye volunteered to serve on this committee.)
- Account for ecoregion boundaries when compiling any county averages.
- Consider other ways of fuzzing-up the data like physiological regions.
- Would be useful to crosswalk county table with each map.
- We are going to need a standard for metadata if we are going to publish the data from this assessment.
- Do we need a subteam to coordinate data?
- We need to reconcile the NRI and FIA data since they are not ntirely compatible (include a definition of forestland).
IV. Discussion of the Final Product: David Wear and John Greis
DW and JG described their survey of potential users and ideas generated regarding the form of the final product. They started discussion by presenting the following rough proposal for the final product.
- Focus on a compact and synthetic summary report (100-200 pages). DW and JG would have responsibility for this.
- An Executive Summary will encapsulate findings in 1-3 pages.
- A Technical Report will contain answers to the Assessment Questions. Each Question Manager would have responsibility for writing his/her respective section. This could be a hard copy document or a virtual document.
- The Assessment would also package data for documentation and further analysis. Data would be delivered in raw form and as maps and would be available on the Web.
- A separate Criteria and Indicators report would be generated.
- We will need to distribute format guidelines soon. These should include guidelines for figures and graphs.
- Need direction on the use of software for the documents.
- ARCINFO/VIEW are standard GIS platforms for our agencies.
- Decide soon whether we will use color or black and white graphics
- Will there be page limits for individual sections?
- Include some addendum material on the Web only.
- Define the review process—especially the multiagency aspect—as soon as possible.
- Hardcopy and CD serve important roles as documentation (Web sites aren’t forever) and provide easy access.
- Add Metadata standards to guidelines.
- Include a search function on the web site.
- Assure adequate bandwidth if this material goes out on the web—especially for the first month or so.
- If used, CD’s need careful documentation.
- Develop a distribution strategy.
- Will need a subject index for the technical document that cuts across the questions.
- Address the time frame for retention on line.
- Will need to cross reference across questions.
Four breakout sessions were held to discuss issues of common interest identified in the previous discussions. The notes that follow capture the major points of discussions in these sessions.
- Current approach would use a land use and a timber market model (SRTS) to forecast how forest extent and structure could change in the future.
- The outputs from these models can be used to examine implications for wildlife habitat etc.
- Concern raised regarding the ability of SRTS to adequately predict forest age structure. There is a need for validation of the model in this regard.
- Can SRTS capture partial harvesting as it occurs in the South?
- Questioned the importance of organizing SRTS around the ecological spatial frame.
- If ecological spatial frame is used, it would be important to compare with model runs that use survey units.
- What data outputs does the water questions need from the models.
- SRTS will provide future forest structure measures
- Don’t go beyond 20 years in projections i.e., to 2020.
- Importance of the watershed spatial frame.
- Include various scenarios that have some relevance to the questions—e.g., management intensities/plantations/herbicides/fertilization
- Strategy for looking at error structure and modeling uncertainty—is there one?
- Need model that relates forestry activities to watershed changes.
- Need sample outputs from the model to move forward.
- Concern: SRTS model was not designed for habitat modeling
- May not do an adequate job of capturing change in age class distributions
- Can the model capture partial harvesting when it is implicitly based on clearcut technology?
- If eco. Provinces are used it would be important to also use the survey units as point of comparison.
- Scenarios should be investigated to determine effects of policies.
- FIA will produce the list of variables that will be added to the Eastwide data files within the next week. Then respond to FIA by end of July.
- Let FIA know which data will be summarized at the county level.
- Will need two months to get new variables on the Eastwide data.
- Will have water quality/watershed data and forest health special request in two months.
- Will continue to interact with QM’s on case by case.
- Need good definition of what’s needed from the TPO files as well.
- Some historical data will be available back to the thirties.
- Will have all data available in Eastwide for two surveys.
- John Kelly will be the principal contact on the data requests.
- How should history be handled within the Assessment.
- A short chapter of the history of southern forests to give context for overall document. QM’s would reference this.
- Listed several cites that could be useful.
- Categories to include in history, fire, water, timber, human, soil, insect and disease, policy, wildlife, technology, product technology, and land use.
- Writer of history section should allow QMs to review outline. Need to insure consistency in document.
- Include a timeline of major events.
- Allow QM’s to review history document.
- Look at e.g.s from AL and LA.
- Look to forest history.
- Concern regarding QM’s that are already doing a history for their questions.
- Forestry 2001 conference may be constructing a history that could be used in this context (what is their timeline)
V.d. Water Issues
- Jim G. will look at impacts of water policy/laws on landowners and forestry (?)
- Look at 404 measures
- General issues regarding the structure of the analysis
- Could we use the most recent FIA data to examine some specific changes.
- Don’t focus exclusively on the two time steps from the inventory
- Possibility of using illustrative case studies
- Concern regarding validity of the data especially re: water quality and variation across the states
- Look at ownership patterns to characterize the watersheds that are impaired.
- Look at ownership and BMP compliance
- Look at herbicides and pesticides as part of Stephanie’s question.
- History of aquatic species would be useful
- Look at structure and effects of streamside buffers
- Need to work on NRCS to get at buffer and other issues regarding ag-forest interface.
Thursday July 20, 2000
VI. Small Area Assessments: John Greis and David Wear
John and Dave reviewed the background on this aspect of the Assessment and started a discussion of factors that should be considered when selecting a pool of candidates for the Small Area Assessments.
Question: What factors should be considered when identifying candidates for subregional areas assessments?
- How do we define factors?
- Shift of discussion to focus on places—value of looking at places as intuitive mechanisms for getting at the factors.
- Degree of deviation from natural vegetation.
- From a pre-settlement condition (e.g., longleaf pine)
- Non-industrial landowner concentration, tract size, behavior.
- Measure of fragmentation either owner or parcel size also physical fragmentation.
- Measure of increased output of wood products.
- Degree of industry presence (not forest ownership).
- Both forest measures (forest condition) and processing technology
- Evidence of unusual activity or change.
- Line dancing
- Concentration of local ordinances impacting forestry
- Biodiversity hot spots.
- Also include species and critical habitats
- Rare communities (constellations of them)
- Particularly high in endemism (concentration of unique species)
- Especially in areas without public lands or otherwise not protected (GAP analysis).
- Population increases and potential implications for the environment
- Increased recreation demands.
- Changes in forest types
- Soil loss
- Need some clarification on this.
- Who would identify it as a part of their question.
- Conversion from natural forest types to more intensively managed forests (plantations?)
- Focuses on pine plantations
- Also use of herbicides
- Significant changes in disturbance regimes
- Presence or increased presence of exotic species
- Terrestrial or Aquatic
- Changes in infrastructure within an area that allows production and utilization of wood products e.g., roads.
- Focus on roads and rivers (ports) otherwise accessibility
- Measures of forest economics.
- Change in distribution of wood products industry/economy.
- Change in the income derived from the wood products industries.
- Changes in the characteristics of human communities
- Area impacted by forest fragmentation.
- Matched areas for study—controlled experiment.
- Streams impaired by forestry activities—based on NASF report (need to get a copy of this).
- Regarding sedimentation
- Change in age class or species distributions
- Change in the protection status of an area
- Opportunities for afforestation. Areas that are not forested but could move to forest cover.
- Areas that have opportunity for multiple production
- Areas that are already being studied for similar purposes.
- Local areas that have already constructed grass roots solutions to these types of questions/problems.
- Golf course density.
- Areas where BMP’s are or are not being implemented.
- Areas with increasing recreational opportunities.
- Areas with increasing urbanization.
- Areas where there are good historical data available.
- Areas experiencing a decline in forest inventory
- Changes in pests/pathogens occurrence
- Increased acid deposition
- Increased southern pine beetle activity
- Increased in mortality or a decline in forest productivity.
- Size is a factor—can it be done.
- Risk factors for health.
- Look at other smaller assessments-- Southern Appalachians and OOHA
- Look for longer term water quality records
- Use a watershed basis for these analyses.
- Suggests looking at areas where BMP’s have been implemented well.
- Look at areas that have recent FIA data
- Changes in water tables other hydrologic effects associated with the removal of forests
- Look at ability to do paired studies—e.g., BMP implementation
- Consider range of topographies for comparative areas.
- Clarification on NIPF criterion—small area assessments would be a way to look carefully at the management approaches of land
- Consider effects of corporate ownership on quality of life
- Look at fine scale differences in tax treatment and other institutional context of forest management.
- Important to look forward as well as consider the history of change. Specifically the forecast of land use changes
- Use of herbicides.
- Effects of forest activities on wetland function.
- Look at areas where local concerns are concentrated.
- Look for tradeoffs between different uses of the forest. Tourism/recreation and timber harvesting for example.
- Look for increased demands on availability.
- Emphasize areas that are responding with increasing ordinances.
- Significant shifts from forestry land uses to other land uses.
- Recovery and diversity of plant species after clear cutting.
- Areas with substantial changes in inventories… mortality, total inventory etc…
- Suggests Kingsport area as a focal area.
- Impacts of cost share programs that encourage reforestation
- Areas with increased productivity.
- Encouraged to organize our efforts by the hypotheses that drive the local area assessments. Using sites to drive hypotheses would be a mistake.
- Look at areas with heavy urban expansion.
- Consider areas that are affected by overlapping sourcing areas (source for mills).
- Look for increased use of herbicides and fertilizers.
- Look at areas with wetlands loss.
- Look at areas with high rates of pine plantation conversions.
- Look at areas dependent on recreation and tourism for economic revenue.
- Look for sites where biodiversity may be impacted by industry.
- Suggested sites: Kingsport, TN, Laurens County SC, and NC Coastal area (focus on ditching/draining of wetlands and conversion to pine plantations.)
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