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Other Projects by TAFCC Members

The collaborative projects listed here are currently being undertaken by the Taskforce members. You will also find projects specifically developed by the TAFCC, as we identify knowledge gaps and organize our efforts to address them.

Project 1
Performance of Douglas-fir as Determined by Climatic Differences between Seed Sources and Planting Sites

  • Funding: USFS PNWRS Agenda 2020 Program, $225,000 plus contributions from industry and agencies
  • People: Brad St.Clair, Connie Harrington, Peter Gould

Project 2
Decision Support Tools for Determining Appropriate Provenances for Future Climates

  • Funding: USFS Global Change Research Program, $328,560
  • People: Brad St.Clair, Glenn Howe, Nicholas Crookston, Jessica Wright, Denise Steigerwald
Because forest trees are genetically adapted to their local climates, local seed sources are generally recommended for reforestation. These recommendations, however, assume that climates are stable over the long-term, an assumption that we now know is unlikely. Because of local adaptation, the health and productivity of planted and native forests may decline as climates change. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly clear that land managers must consider future climates when choosing seed sources for reforestation following timber harvest, wildfires, or other restoration activities. Furthermore, ‘assisted migration’ may also be needed to maintain the health and diversity of protected areas (i.e., areas currently receiving little or no forest management). Although forest managers should consider future climates when making seed source decisions, the information to do so is not readily available. There is a wealth of data from long-term provenance tests and seedling genecological studies that could be used to help make seed source decisions, but few of these studies have been analyzed in relation to climate change. These data are also critical for researchers interested in predicting how forests will respond to climate change. Because of local adaptation, the climatic tolerances for individual populations (provenances) are much lower than they are for the species as a whole. Therefore, projections of forest growth and survival in future climates will differ substantially between analyses that account for adaptive provenance variation and those that do not. Our objectives are to (1) develop a National Forest Genetics Data Center that will acquire and maintain data from long-term provenance tests and seedling genecology studies to be used for seed zone development and refinement; (2) develop a Web-based decision support tool that can be used by forest managers to select appropriate seed sources for a given species, planting site, and climate change scenario; and (3) conduct a workshop to teach (i) researchers how to access and download data from the National Forest Genetics Data Center (NFGDC), and (ii) land managers how to use the Web-based decision support tool to select appropriate seed sources for future climates. This project will help forest managers and researchers make decisions that will lead to better adapted, healthier, and more productive forests in the future.

Project 3
Development and Delivery of a Climate-Driven Forest Vegetation Simulator

  • USFS Global Change Research Program, $160,500
  • People: Nicholas Crookston, Gary Dixon, Aaron Weiskittel, Glenn Howe, Brad St.Clair, and Jerry Rehfeldt
The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS, Crookston and Dixon 2005) is a forest dynamics model used by forest managers to simulate the effects of management. Its outputs include description of predicted species and size-class distributions. Many other indicators of forest ecosystem function are available through model extensions that represent insect and disease dynamics, fire, fuels, and carbon. The model is used for projects and planning at the stand, landscape, and forest spatial scales by National Forests, state governments, industry, and universities. The core tree growth and mortality components are empirically modeled functions of site capacity, tree size, and competition. Measures of site capacity rely on direct observations of biological indicators such as site index and habitat type. The model assumes that trees are genetically adapted to the site and that site quality is constant over time. However, climate change is projected to alter water and temperature regimes, which are important aspects of site. In addition, atmospheric gas concentrations important for growth are also changing. This Research and Development proposal is focused on removing the assumptions of stationary site quality and adaptability, and providing a process-based index of potential productivity. We propose to act on the results of a workshop (ESSA Technologies 2007) held at Priest River Experiment Forest (PREF) that identified approaches to modifying FVS to be climate-driven. 1) Build empirically-based and process-based (using 3-PG) models of site quality and carrying capacity as functions of climate and soil attributes. Integrate these models into two regional variants of FVS and demonstrate performance for several climate change scenarios. 2) Modify FVS to account for climate-induced changes in tree growth and mortality depending on the seed zone trees’ origin. These modifications will be based on empirical results and theoretical approaches and will cover at least three species. 3) Design, build, and demonstrate model components that account for projected changes in species ranges. 4) Transfer the new FVS climate-sensitive technology to forest managers and provide automated tools that link FVS to required climate data.

what's new

Project 1 Moves Forward
Nine sites representing climates within the PNW are being selected to plant a resciprocal-transplant experiment with seedlings of Douglas-fir families from 12 provenances.

  Copyright 2008 Taskforce on Adapting Forests to Climate Change