Criteria For Identifying Sub-Regional Focus Area Candidates
February 15, 2001
Scale and the Southern Forest Resource Assessment
The overall objective of the Southern Forest Resource Assessment (SFRA) is
to compile and analyze data and information necessary to evaluate
the status of the forest resources of the southern U.S.; their productivity,
ecological diversity and sustainability. Forest resources to be evaluated
include timber and non-timber forest products, ecological characteristics,
and water quality. These resources can be evaluated at various scales.
The first priority of the Assessment is to evaluate forests throughout
the South (the primary scope) and report these findings by state,
ecological section and 8-digit hydrologic unit scales (the primary
scales). Data compiled at other scales may be used in the Assessment,
but the focus will be on the Assessment’s primary scope and scales.
Forests of the region are highly diverse and complex, thus some relevant
forest resource questions may not be fully addressed by the regional
assessment. Answers to some questions dealing with critical environmental,
ecosystem, and/or economic functions may be fully revealed only through
study at finer scales. To better understand the potentially significant
fine-scale processes and issues, smaller sub-regions of the South
will be identified for further analysis. These are the Sub-Regional
Focus Areas within the SFRA.
Focus of Sub-Regional Assessments
Sub-regional focus area candidates will be identified as the Assessment
Team completes its technical analysis of specific assessment questions.
Follow up analyses will focus on specific issues within these areas.
Issues and places will be flagged by Team members as they address
their questions or by others as they work with or review Team findings.
Sub-regional focus area assessments would focus on at least some of
these issues at specific locations.
The overall intent of this work is to complement and expand on the
broad findings of the Assessment. That is, the analysis will focus,
confirm and shed further light on factors contributing to resource
conditions, changes and associated impacts that are documented by
Question Managers or the public during the SFRA process.
While not intended to provide a comprehensive forecast for any sub-region,
these assessments will address specific ongoing and emerging resource
issues and trends in specific places. As such, they are intended
to provide important insights through illustrative case studies rather
than represent a regional cross-section of conditions and issues.
Criteria For Identifying Sub-regional Focus Area Candidates
To provide useful linkage to the overall assessment, candidates for
Sub-Regional Focus Areas should exhibit the following characteristics:
Candidates should be:
- Areas large enough to be identifiable, measurable, and reportable by Question
Managers in the process of addressing their Question(s). Potential
units of study include ecological sections, 8-digit watershed units,
or multi-county units and should be relevantly scaled to the question
- Experiencing measurable change or potential for change in the extent, condition
or health of their forests or forest-dependent resources.
- Experiencing or be likely to experience measurable effects (negative or positive)
on one or more forest resource or value as a result of that change.
- Suggested as high-priority areas for further study by
Question Manager(s) or the public and selected by the interagency
Planning Team as consistent with these criteria, after considering
Assessment findings and input from the public.
Following are some measurable factors that if experiencing notable
change within a sub-regional area, could indicate the usefulness of
Pathogen/Insect Occurrence or Risk
Forest Patch Size
Land Cover Fragmentation
Acres Harvested Timber Demand
Forest Type Distribution
Stand Origin (Natural/Planted)
Exotic Plant Species
Exotic Animal Species
Number of Forest-related Ordinances
Conversion of Forestland to Non-forestland
T&E Species Concentration
Impaired Streams – Potentially Silviculture-related
Wetland Forest Type Conversion
Forested Wetland Conversion to Non-wetland
Population Trends of Forest-dependent Wildlife