Using the past to inform the future: Alaska’s changing boreal forest from a tree-ring perspective

Interior Alaska’s 115-million-acre boreal forest is larger than California and Texas combined. With few roads, most of the region is accessible only by air and is considered one of the last true wilderness areas in the United States. The first systematic forest inventory of this vast area has been started bythe USDA Forest Service’s Forest […]

Rethinking the Possible: Applying Long-Term Datasets to Estimate Historic Salmon Abundance in the Middle Fork Salmon River

Looking into the past can help biologists and managers determine what is possible in the future. New research is helping understand the past and more accurately estimate future salmon recovery potential. Central Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River (MFSR) offers a glimpse of historical Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) spawning and rearing habitat. The MFSR flows through […]

One Year After Launch, eDNAtlas Proves Its Worth

In less time than it takes a barista to make a latte, you can locate the confirmed presence of chinook salmon in Western Washington and Oregon, or the distribution of bull trout throughout the Pacific Northwest. In the coming months, you can search for the locations of slimy sculpin in freshwater streams and grizzly bear. […]

The Hot-Dry-Windy Index: A new tool for forecasting fire weather

Accurate predictions of how weather may affect a wildfire’s behavior areneeded to protect crews on the line and efficiently allocate firefightingresources. Since 1988, fire meteorologists have used a tool called the HainesIndex to predict days when the weather will exacerbate a wildfire. Although the Haines Index is widely believed to have value, it never received […]

Forestry as a natural climate solution: The positive outcomes of negative carbon emissions

Forests are considered a natural solution for mitigating climate changebecause they absorb and store atmospheric carbon. With Alaska boasting 129 million acres of forest, this state can play a crucial role as a carbon sink for the United States. Until recently, the volume of carbon stored in Alaska’s forests was unknown, as was their future […]

Morphology Is Better Than Size for Revealing a Tree’s Age on Colorado’s Front Range

In Colorado’s Front Range, restoring fire-dependent ponderosa forests is a management priority often informed by understanding the historical structure and ecological function of these forests. Retention of old ponderosa pine trees within restored stands provides forests with a diversity of age structure, genetics, and resilience to low to moderate severity wildfires. Ponderosa pine trees reveal […]

Innovation in the Interior: How state-of-the-art remote sensing is helping to inventory Alaska’s last frontier

Throughout the summer of 2014, anyone watching the Piper-Cherokee, single-engine, piston-powered airplane fly repeated passes over interior Alaska’s Tanana Valley might have thought the airplane was like the other small planes that fly Alaska’s skies. This was not a typical Piper-Cherokee though; it carried a state-of-the-art multisensory airborne imaging remote-sensing system that can measure the […]

Is That Tree Dead? Quantifying Fire-Killed Trees to Inform Salvage and Forest Management

In fire-dependent forests of the western United States, tree species adapt in several ways to survive fire. In low-elevation forests that evolved with frequent, low-severity fire, many species have thick bark protecting the living tissues of cambium and phloem from wildfires’ destructive heat. Longer, thicker needles or those enclosed in thick scales protect growing buds. […]

Counting carbon: Calculating how headwater streams contribute to the carbon cycle

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Science Findings December 2018 Pacific Northwest forests play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Because they sequester atmospheric carbon, they are considered long-term carbon sinks when one is calculating the carbon budget for the region. Yet a forested landscape is more than trees; numerous headwater streams […]