In the News
The only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis is now more accessible than ever, thanks to fully re-designed web pages of the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program. Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding of forest change over short and long time frames, say the editors and authors of “Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and Analysis 2017”—the seventeenth such summary in a series sponsored by and published by the Southern Research Station. The entire series is now available to be browsed, searched and downloaded by year, topic, or chapter, along with highlights and additional resources.
Scientists from across the Forest Service as well as university researchers, state partners, and many other experts contribute to the report. Kevin Potter, who co-edits the series with fellow North Carolina State University scientist and Threat Center cooperator Barb Conkling, describes the state of U.S. forests as “troubling.” “We have a great deal of forest in the United States, and much of it is in good shape,” he says. “At the same time, fires, insects and diseases, and droughts are impacting forest health in many places, and some of those forests may be altered permanently.”
The paper “Divergence of species responses to climate change,” coauthored by Kevin Potter, a North Carolina State University scientist cooperating with the Eastern Threat Center, has been awarded the 2019 W.S. Cooper Award by the Ecological Society of America.
The award is given annually to an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession, or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. Potter and colleagues from Purdue University and the Southern Research Station analyzed extensive data on 86 tree species in the eastern United States and found that most trees have been shifting their ranges westward or northward in response to temperature and precipitation changes.Their results were published in the May 2017 issue of Science Advances.
The paper was also ranked number 59 on the list of top science stories in 2018 by Discover magazine.
Check out the announcement from the Ecological Society of America, the article in Discover magazine, and learn more about this study of tree range shifts.